Trondheim CCS Conference

Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg gave the opening speech at the Trondheim CCS Conference on June 18th 2019.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To our hosts NTNU and SINTEF, thank you for inviting me to Trondheim, Norway's technology capital.

I can't think of a better place to talk about the government's policy on CCS - and the potential importance it has both for Norway and internationally.

Let us however start by looking at CCS in the bigger picture, and in a Norwegian context.

Here, two important features are important.

First of all, Norway is an ocean nation.

Sustainable use of the ocean has laid the foundation for Norway's prosperity and the welfare.

We firmly believe that the oceans hold the key to solving many of the most challenging tasks facing the world today – such as combating climate change.

In our ambitious ocean strategy, research and knowledge are crucial factors.

The second feature, which is important to mention in a CCS context, is Norway as a petroleum nation. This year we celebrate 50 years as a petroleum producer.

During these years, technology development and knowledge have been important elements to build a safer, more efficient and not least, a more sustainable industry.

Looking ahead, I believe research and technology will play an equally important role to develop the petroleum sector, as a basis for new industries and not least, meeting challenges and opportunities ahead.

The perhaps greatest challenge facing us now and beyond is addressing the climate changes.

Across Europe, we have seen the youth calling for action.

It has truly made an impression on me.

Two weeks ago, I met some of these youths in Kristiansand. We had very good and constructive discussions.

One of the topics was how we can have ambitious climate policies, and at the same time, long-term policies on our petroleum activities.

I tried to express how we look at this significant challenge.

A growing world population is in need of more energy. Currently, the energy supply is dominated by coal, oil and gas.

At the same time, we must reduce the global emissions.

This requires global cooperation - where Norway will play an active part.

We also know that the growth in renewables is not enough. The world will need oil and gas for decades ahead – also within the framework of the sustainable development goals and the Paris-agreement.

The world needs more energy – and it needs cleaner energy.

Here, Norway can contribute in many ways.

In a climate context, the most important are:

  • Contributing to the shift from coal to gas in the European energy mix.
  • In the longer run, hydrogen from natural gas combined with CCS could be a cost-effective option to decarbonize the energy sector – and would work well in combination with other zero-emission technologies.
  • We have a forward leaning industry that cannot reduce emissions by switching fuel or to renewable power. Demonstrating CCS in these industries will provide learnings and reduce costs.
  • We have a strong R&D community within CCS after decades of support.
  • Norway has available storage on our continental shelf to store large amounts of European emissions – and 20 years of experience storing CO2 under the seabed.
  • And finally, as an ocean-based petroleum industry we can use the competence and technology base to stimulate this development further.

And let me be clear – CCS has the potential to be one of the most important measures achieving the goal of more energy and cleaner energy.

The International Energy Agency supports this view, and in the report from UNs Panel on Climate Change last fall, CCS was a key in three out of four scenarios, to limit global warming to 1,5 centigrade.

Not to forget the signals coming from Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel now views CCS as a potential key element for the country's efforts to tackle climate change.

This is important, coming from a European technological and political powerhouse.

In the Norwegian policies on CCS, we believe this international approach is important.

In our dialogue with our most important energy partners, such as the EU, CCS is high on the agenda. This fall we are looking forward to host, together with the EU, a CCS conference in Oslo.

In order to make CCS a workable solution on a global scale, we need to cooperate and share costs and risks – across borders.

After a few slow years, interest is picking up. We have to make the most of it.

Let me assure you that Norway will do its part in taking action.

In terms of climate policies in Norway, CCS is one of five areas of priority.

Creating a market for CCS is demanding. In order to succeed, the public sector must be involved.

The Norwegian Government's strategy focuses on three main areas:

First, we have an ambition to realize a cost-effective solution for full-scale CCS in Norway, provided that the project leads to technology development internationally.

In addition, we will demonstrate capture of CO2 either from the cement industry or from burning waste – or both.

These industries are large emitters, and  have limited or no alternatives to CCS if they are to become decarbonized. These demonstration projects will provide learnings and cost savings for future projects.

It is essential that we soon start to cut costs to achieve the broad deployment of CCS in Europe.

With this, we are preparing the ground for future European projects - making it more attractive for European industry to consider capture of CO2.

We also have to look into storage.

The CO2 captured from industrial sources will be transported by ship to a CO2-hub on the west coast of Norway. From there the CO2 will be sent through a pipeline to a safe CO2 storage site located underground on the Norwegian Continental shelf.

And here, I believe our experience with offshore based petroleum activity will come into great use.

The storage facilities will have more capacity than what is needed for capture projects in Norway. The additional capacity is an important foundation for faster deployment of CCS in Europe.

To achieve this, one challenge we need to address is the ban on cross-border CO2-transport for offshore storage in the London Protocol Article 6.

Norway is now working on an interim solution to this barrier. The most important factor is that all parties to the London Protocol ratifies the amendment that will secure a permanent solution.

What would also be an important step is the proposed cost sharing agreement between the state and industrial storage partners for drilling an exploration well to verify the storage site. Hopefully, this will be approved by the Norwegian Parliament this week.

The commitment from the industry and their willingness to pick up cost is essential for the Government. By sharing the costs both the industry and the government show commitment to deliver a successful project.

The second part of our strategy is to support research and development.

Here, I would like to mention the CLIMIT-program.

I am very pleased to see more interest from the industry. Both in Norway and abroad.  The numbers are clear. The amount of industrial applicants to CLIMIT increases by the year.

CLIMIT has an important role reaching our ambitions within CCS as it support projects from basic research – to large-scale demonstration.

It support the development of every step of the value chain: capture, storage and transport.

The third point in our government's strategy  is to support testing of new capture technologies and solutions at the Technology Center at Mongstad. Since time is short, I will not go into this point now, other than saying that the test center has made important contributions to the development of CCS technology, and will continue to do so.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The path towards decarbonisation and the low emission society will take time. This means that we need to push the transition through international collaboration, further research and development, and encouraging industrial deployment.

This calls for determination as well as patience.

Not least a high level of competence and experience.

All of which we can find in this room.

Since it is difficult to succeed alone – I am also glad to see such a wide range of sectors, research communities and authorities represented here.

And finally, since this is an international effort, I am pleased to so many coming from far away.

Let me assure all of you, that this government will support the important work you are doing.

I wish you the best of luck at the TCCS here in Trondheim!

Thank you for your attention!