Norwegian government hosts Equinor and Microsoft MOU signing for Northern Lights project

Equinor has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft to collaborate on the Northern Lights project.

Norway is fully committed to reaching the targets in the Paris Agreement, and were one of the first countries in the world to submit a strengthened target under the Paris Agreement.

The Norwegian government sees CCS as a necessary measure to cut emissions, without cutting growth. The MoU signed today focuses on the possibilities in the Northern Lights project. The project is an equal collaboration between Equinor, Shell and Total. It includes transport and permanent storage of CO2 under the seabed in the North Sea. It is part of the Norwegian CO2 capture and storage project called "Longship".

Microsoft has a goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030. The company is exploring a number of approaches to achieve this goal and are exploring the Northern Lights project with Norway.

Can reduce global emissions

– Longship is the biggest industrial climate project in our history and a large and important technology project. We see it as an effective means for Norway to contribute to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in the long term at the lowest possible cost. Today's event shows the broad industry commitment to CCS, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

– CCS will be an important tool to mitigate climate change. This agreement between Microsoft and Equinor on the Northern Lights project demonstrates shared commitment and aims to provide technology development, scalability and cost reductions. All key to making Longship and global CCS deployment a success, says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru.

– Large companies that succeed in creating new climate technology can also help us cut emissions and create jobs. This agreement is an important step towards building a low-emission industry in Norway, Bru says.

Digitalisation is a priority for the Norwegian government. -This is very exciting news. Introducing digital capabilities into the Northern Lights project is a key factor in achieving the governments ambition to develop a CCS value chain. Safety, productivity, accessibility and sustainability are all elements that will benefit through the application of digital technologies, says Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation Linda Hofstad Helleland.

The four points in the MoU

Equinor and Microsoft have agreed to:

  • Explore a technology collaboration to integrate Microsoft’s digital expertise into the Northern Lights project
  • Microsoft will explore the of use Northern Lights' CO2 transport and storage facility as part of its portfolio of carbon removal, transportation, and storage projects.
  • Explore ways for Microsoft to invest in the effective development of Northern Lights
  • Explore and establish advocacy of policies that help accelerate the contribution CCS can make to meeting Europe’s climate goal.

Longship

As mentioned, Northern Lights is part of the Norwegian government's Longship project, which includes the entire value chain from capture, transport to CO2 storage.

Read more about the project here.

Longship includes capture of CO2 at Norcem's cement factory in Brevik and possibly at Fortum Oslo Varme's waste management facility in Oslo. The latter requires sufficient self-financing and financing from the EU or other sources.

Longship also includes support for the Northern Lights transport and storage project. Northern Lights will transport liquid CO2 by ship from the capture facilities to a reception terminal in Øygarden in Western Norway. From there, CO2 will be pumped to a permanent storage facility under the seabed. The project is now being considered by the Parliament.

Facts – Northern Lights

The Northern Lights project is part of the Norwegian carbon capture and storage (CCS) project “Langskip”, supported by the Norwegian government. The project will include capture of CO2 from one or two industrial capture sources. The Northern Lights project comprises transportation, reception and permanent storage of CO₂. 

Initially, Northern Lights includes capacity to transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Once the CO2 is captured onshore, it will be transported by ships, injected and permanently stored 2,600 meters below the seabed in the North Sea.

The facilities are scheduled to be operational in 2024.
The CO2 receiving terminal will be located at the premises of Naturgassparken industrial area in the municipality of Øygarden in Western Norway. 
The plant will be operated from Equinor’s facilities at the Sture terminal in Øygarden. 

Exploitation licence EL001 "Aurora" was awarded in January 2019.
The storage complex is located 2,600 meters below the seabed.
In March 2020 drilling of the Eos confirmation well was completed.