The Future of CCS in Norway

By Camilla Bergsli
Communication Adviser, Gassnova SF, Norway

The Norwegian government seeks to realize at least one full-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project by 2020, and three industrial carbon capture projects are about to enter the concept phase. Twenty years of experience with full-scale CCS combined with the world’s largest CCS test facility and more than 20 years of CCS research underlie the country’s ambition to contribute to further development of CCS. This article examines Norway’s efforts to mitigate CO2 emissions by applying CCS and the importance of industrial emissions being mitigated as well as power generation CO2 emissions.


In 1990, Norway implemented a CO2 tax. This led to two CO2 storage projects on the Norwegian continental shelf: Sleipner and Snøhvit,1 both operated by the Norwegian oil company Statoil. Since 1996, CO2 from natural gas production on the Norwegian shelf has been captured and reinjected into sub-seabed formations. The CCS projects on the Sleipner and Snøhvit petroleum fields are the only CCS projects currently in operation in Europe and the only projects offshore. Since 1996, up to one million tonnes of CO2 annually has been separated during processing of natural gas from the Sleipner Vest field, and stored in the Utsira formation. Since 2014, CO2 from natural gas production at the Gudrun field has also been separated out at the Sleipner Vest platform and stored in the Utsira formation. Since 2008, the Snøhvit facility on Melkøya has been separating the 5–6% content of CO2 from the well stream before the gas is chilled to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG). This CO2 is transported back to the Snøhvit field by pipeline and injected into a sub-seabed formation.

Location of CCS projects in Norway

Gassnova, owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, was established in 2007. Its purpose is to manage Norway’s interests regarding technology development, and capture, transport, injection, and storage of CO2, as well as to implement the projects determined by the enterprise. Gassnova’s work is aimed at reducing the costs of CCS, as well as advising the Ministry on CCS matters.

Mongstad CCS worker (Courtesy of Styrk Tronsen)

World’s Largest Technology Center for CO2 Capture

In addition to administering the government’s full-scale projects and the CCS research and demonstration program CLIMIT, Gassnova oversees the state’s interest in the CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad DA (TCM). TCM was inaugurated in 2012, and is still the world’s largest and most advanced test center for CO2 capture technologies. It is a joint venture between the Norwegian state, Statoil, Shell, and Sasol.

TCM’s focus is on testing and improving CO2 capture technology in the final stage before full-scale operation. It aims to help reduce the cost and risks of CO2 capture technology deployment by providing an arena where vendors can test, verify, and demonstrate proprietary CO2 capture technologies.

TCM provides access to two intrinsically different, real-life flue gases for testing: flue gas from a gas turbine power plant and flue gas from a refinery catalytic cracker, which resembles flue gas from a coal-fired power plant. The CO2 concentration is about 3.5% and 13%, respectively, with flexibility to dilute/enrich the flue gas sources. Uniquely, this enables vendors to flexibly test their capture technologies for both coal- and gas-fired power plants, as well as on other industrial applications, using the same facility. The TCM test site is equipped with two distinct units for post-combustion capture technology verification with space available to add others.

Four companies have successfully validated their technology at TCM: Aker Solutions, Alstom (now GE), Shell Cansolv, and Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (CCSL). ION Engineering has just started its testing program.

Industrial CCS

Without CCS, the global climate objectives set in Paris in 2015 will be difficult to achieve. The importance of using CCS has been stated by the UN’s Climate Panel (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Norwegian parliament agreed to the government’s CCS strategy when it was proposed in 2014. The strategy encompasses a broad range of activities.

Feasibility studies were completed in July 2016.2 Three companies studied the feasibility of CO2 capture at their industrial facilities and Gassco and Statoil studied transport and storage feasibility:

  • Norcem AS assessed the possibility for capturing CO2 from the flue gas at its cement factory.
  • Yara Norge AS assessed CO2 capture from three different emission points at its ammonia plant.
  • The Waste-to-Energy Agency for the Oslo municipality (EGE) assessed CO2 capture from its energy recovery plant.
  • Gassco completed a ship transport study (CO2 fullskala transport, mulighetsstudierapport [Gassco DG2], June 2016).
  • Statoil ASA completed feasibility studies of CO2 storage at three different sites on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The purpose of the studies was to identify at least one technically feasible CCS chain (capture, transport, and storage) with corresponding cost estimates. The results from the feasibility studies showed that it is technically feasible to realize a CCS chain in Norway.

The studies demonstrate a flexible CCS chain. Instead of transporting CO2 by pipeline to a storage site, the plan is to transport CO2 by ship to a hub tied to the storage site. A flexible transport solution and ample storage capacity could contribute to realizing capture from additional CO2 sources. That would mean that the initial investment in CO2 infrastructure could be utilized by several projects.

CO2 capture is technically feasible at all three emission locations. An onshore facility and a pipeline to the Smeaheia marine aquifer is considered the best storage solution; the CO2 captured will be transported by ship. The cost is lower than for projects considered in Norway earlier: Planning and investment is estimated at US$0.86–1.5 billion (excluding VAT). These costs will depend on the quantity of CO2 captured, where it is captured, and the number of transport ships needed. Operational costs vary between approximately US$42 and US$106 million per year for the different alternatives. The cost estimates are based on the reports from the industrial players and have an uncertainty of ±40% or lower.

The government’s budget proposal for 2017 includes funding for the continued planning of full-scale CO2 capture plants on all three industrial sites. The government proposes allocating US$44 million to concept studies. The timeline is for a full-scale CCS plant to be operational by 2022 with a basis for investment decision presented in autumn 2018. The Norwegian parliament will then make a final investment decision in spring 2019.

Industrial Emissions Sources

In its feasibility study, Norcem (owned by Heidelberg Cement) assessed solutions for capturing 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from its cement plant in Brevik. Norcem seeks to achieve zero CO2 emissions from its concrete products in a life-cycle perspective by 2030. In this context, the company investigated the possibilities of CO2 capture from the flue gases in cement production. In 2010, Norcem started CLIMIT-supported projects to assess alternative capture technologies. Results from these projects were used as a basis for the feasibility study.

Before the feasibility study, Norcem determined that, from the perspective of what is achievable by 2020, amine technology is the most suitable capture technology and chose Aker Solutions as its technology supplier through a broad-based technology and supplier evaluation process. Aker Solutions conducted more than 8000 hours of testing on Norcem’s flue gas, and the technology was thus considered sufficiently qualified by Norcem to remove CO2 from its flue gas. Norcem placed particular focus on how residual heat from cement production can be used for CO2 capture. Available heat makes it possible to capture about 400,000 tonnes of CO2, which corresponds to approximately half of the plant’s total CO2 emissions. This was key when designing the CO2 capture plant. Suitable solutions have also been found for interim storage and shipping of CO2 on the quay in Norcem’s area. When Norcem is able to capture 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, in combination with the use of CO2-neutral energy (biofuel) in production, it will be able to achieve its goal for zero CO2 emissions from its products in a life-cycle perspective.

Yara Norge has total CO2 emissions annually of 895,000 tonnes from its ammonia plant in Porsgrunn. The company estimates it could capture 805,000 tonnes of CO2 from the plant per year or 90% of the plant’s CO2 emissions. This would come on top of the annual 200,000 tonnes that Yara already captures annually and sells for use within food production.

Mongstad CCS Plant (Courtesy of Styrk Tronsen)

Yara has prioritized reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its production for many years. Its primary focus has been reducing nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions, with major reductions achieved. NOx is a greenhouse gas with a high CO2 equivalent, and a worldwide agreement on NOx reductions is included in the Gothenburg Protocol, signed in 1999.3 Yara first examined the establishment of a CO2 capture plant from ammonia production while working on the feasibility study. The production chain for compound fertilizer starts with making ammonia. This is the most CO2-intensive step in the process.

Ammonia can also be purchased in a global market. The ammonia plant in Porsgrunn is thus in a competitive situation where the cost of producing ammonia for compound fertilizer production must be cheaper than purchasing ammonia (including transport costs). There are three primary sources of CO2 emissions from the ammonia plant. The first two come from the process of cleaning CO2 from the production stream (through absorption of CO2 in water, so-called water wash). The third source is flue gas from a gas-fired reformer. This will require a CO2 capture plant with secondary combustion technology. Yara chose not to commit to one technology supplier in the feasibility study, but rather used an independent study supplier who designed and calculated the costs for an amine-based plant using freely accessible information about the commercially available amine, monoethanolamine (MEA).

Oslo municipality, represented by the Waste-to-Energy Agency (EGE), has assessed the possibility of capturing 315,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from the energy recovery plant at Klemetsrud. This constitutes about 90% of the total CO2 emissions from the plant. Klemetsrud is planning to ramp up production, thereby also increasing CO2 emissions from the plant. EGE has assessed two different capture technologies, and chose Aker Solutions and GE as sub-suppliers in an open competitive tender process. Both GE’s and Aker Solutions’ capture technologies are based on absorption technology, but they use different types of solvents. Aker Solutions’ technical solution is based on use of their proprietary amine, whereas GE’s technology is based on chilled ammonia. Both technologies use heat pumps and steam turbines to recover and return sufficient thermal energy to allow the energy recovery plant to maintain the same thermal energy balance, thus allowing it to maintain its deliveries to the district heating grid in Oslo. Both technologies will use electricity produced at the energy recovery plant. Efficient energy integration and the use of air coolers have removed the need for establishing a cooling water system or reinforcing the electricity supply for the plant.


In Norway, there is a broad commitment to CCS in the climate policy. Gassnova SF is the Norwegian state’s tool for CCS, following up the state’s interests in CCS, coordinating the projects selected, and advising the authorities on CCS matters.

The Norwegian government’s strategy for CCS aims at identifying measures to promote technology development and to reduce the costs of CCS. The government’s CCS policies span a broad range of measures including funding for research, development, and demonstration; realizing a full-scale CCS facility; transport, storage, and alternative use of CO2; and international cooperation for promoting CCS.

An important purpose of the CCS strategy is to increase knowledge sharing and contribute to global deployment of CCS.

The different business sectors in Norway have in 2016 worked on their roadmaps toward 2030/2050 as support for the government in following up on its commitments made in the Paris Agreement. The industry sector in Norway is highly engaged in CCS. The Federation of Norwegian Industries’ new roadmap for the process industry contains a vision of combining growth and zero emissions by 2050.4 This is impossible without CCS due to emissions being unavoidable in many industrial processes. Both Norcem and Yara have contributed to the work on this roadmap.

The municipality of Oslo has adopted its own climate and energy strategy.5 The CCS project at its fully owned waste-to-energy plant at Klemetsrud is an important project for this strategy.


  1. Hagen, S., et al. (2015, 10 September). Offshore CCS-projects in Norway. 20 years of experience and 20 million tons CO2 stored. CCS workshop at ISO/TC 265 Plenary Meeting. Statoil,
  2. The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. (2016, July). Feasibility studies on full-scale CCS in Norway,]
  3. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). (1999). Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone. The 1999 Gothenburg Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone,
  4. The Federation of Norwegian Industries. (2016, May). Økt verdiskaping med nullutslipp i 2050 [in Norwegian],
  5. Municipality of Oslo. (2016, June). Climate and energy strategy for Oslo,

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The content in Cornerstone does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Coal Association or its members.
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