RWE’s Eemshaven facility; Source: Neptune Energy

New cross-border carbon storage project to explore potential for ship transport and industrial clusters across Europe

Oil and gas company Neptune Energy and Norway’s CapeOmega have joined forces to announce a project concept for a cross-border CO₂ transport and storage development for industrial emitters across Europe.

RWE’s Eemshaven facility; Source: Neptune Energy

The two players announced on Wednesday, 22 February 2023, that the project, called NoordKaap, would involve transporting CO2 via vessels suitable for directly injecting the CO₂ at offshore locations and for terminal offloading.

Evy Glørstad, CEO of CapeOmega, remarked: “NoordKaap comprises an integrated partnership of all stakeholders in the value chain, from emitters to storage facility owners, to ensure close coordination of these proposals as part of the development of a successful decarbonisation strategy.

CapeOmega aims to support the value chain with the infrastructure needed to safely and successfully transport and store CO2. NoordKaap would enable us to use our position and experience in pipeline, terminal, shipping and offshore licence ownership to support CCS and decarbonisation.”

According to Neptune, NoordKaap will examine the potential for a network-based approach to carbon capture and storage (CCS) via marine transport, and could make “a crucial contribution” to Dutch, Norwegian and European climate and energy goals. The overall objective of NoordKaap is to provide cost-effective, scalable infrastructure solutions to facilitate large-scale, flexible CO2 transport and storage from multiple industrial emitters’ clusters.

Lex de Groot, Managing Director of Neptune Energy in the Netherlands, commented: “CO₂ storage is a crucial component for meeting the EU’s climate goals and for a well-functioning CCS market. Both emitters and storage providers need to be able to transport CO₂ safely, and we know access to pipelines will be limited for some, so we are focusing on both types of transport to offshore storage facilities: piping and shipping.

“CCS also supports Neptune’s strategy to store more carbon than is emitted from our operations and from the oil and gas products we sell by 2030.”

Furthermore, NoordKaap aims to offer CCS solutions to industrial clusters where ship transport is the primary or earliest available export option. In addition, the project will examine opportunities for industrial clusters in Germany, Belgium, Scandinavia and northern France.

Neptune further explained that NoordKaap would provide access to CO₂ subsurface storage sites offshore the Netherlands and Norway. This project is also supported by Groningen Seaport, KNCC, Vopak and Return Carbon.

Moreover, RWE has signed a letter of intent with CapeOmega and Neptune Energy in order to assess the possibility to ship green CO2 from their biomass Eemshaven facility for offshore storage in the Dutch North Sea.

Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation, said: “RWE is keen to explore this opportunity together with CapeOmega and Neptune Energy. As RWE, we are currently assessing the possibility to ship and store green CO2 from our biomass Eemshaven plant to offshore storage in the Dutch North Sea, resulting in negative emissions. Our ambition is to make this happen in 2030. That is why the NoordKaap project is such an interesting opportunity for us.”

NoordKaap is planned to be operational in 2028 and has been submitted to the EU as a Project of Mutual Interest (PMI) on the 6th Projects of Common Interest (PCI) List. Such projects aim to link energy systems and bridge infrastructure gaps between EU countries and a successful award of PMI/PCI status gives access to accelerated permitting and funding under the Connecting Europe Facility.

European countries are actively working on CCS projects as a way to reduce emissions and meet net-zero goals. This is illustrated by a letter of intent inked between the governments of Norway and France in December 2022 to cooperate on the development and deployment of CCS.

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This came after Northern Lights and Norwegian chemical company Yara signed in late August 2022 what is described as the world’s first commercial agreement on cross-border CO2 storage and transport, marking “a major milestone” for decarbonising Europe.