1 of 2 | The Norwegian government received an expression of interest from energy companies interested in storing carbon dioxide offshore. Image courtesy of Norwegian energy company Equinor
March 6 (UPI) -- There's strong interest from some of the biggest energy companies in the world to store greenhouse gases in geopolitical formations in the North Sea, the Norwegian government said Monday.
Five companies, all either Norwegian or Norwegian divisions of European companies, submitted applications to Norway's Ministry of Petroleum and Energy to store carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, in Norwegian waters of the North Sea.
"It is gratifying to see the great interest in CO2 storage on the Norwegian shelf," energy minister Terje Aasland said. "The fact that we regularly receive applications to announce areas and to store CO2 in these areas shows that our allocation policy is working as intended."
Carbon capture and storage technology is an evolving component of the pursuit of a net-zero economy. In 2021, during the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. supermajor Chevron and 10 other companies expressed interest in developing large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in the Houston area.
If built, the companies behind the project said it could capture as much as 50 million metric tons of CO2 per year by 2030.
Norway is ahead of the game. Norwegian energy company Equinor joined Shell and TotalEnergies in 2018 in agreeing on the Northern Lights carbon storage facility in the North Sea, which came as a result of Norway's first-ever license for offshore carbon storage.
The nation's energy regulator believes the North Sea has the potential to store more than 80 billion tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of 1,000 years worth of Norwegian emissions.
Representatives last week briefed the British royal family on Northern Lights developments.
"Norway and U.K. have a lot in common," Borre Jacobson, the managing director of Northern Lights, said. "Representing the largest storage potential of CO2 in Europe, together we can pave the way for decarbonization of European hard-to-abate industries. Northern Lights are committed to continue the collaboration with our peers in the U.K."