Northern Lights LCO2 carrier

Northern Lights’s LCO2 carrier pair hits 60% completion milestone

The construction of the first two Northern Lights’ ships has surged past the 60% completion mark, signaling substantial strides in the creation of what has been described as the world’s first large vessels tailor-made for liquified CO2 transport, the company said.

Image credit Northern Lights

The Northern Lights project, a joint venture involving energy giants Shell, Equinor, and TotalEnergies, has commissioned the development of a total of three dedicated CO2 ships, combining LNG-powered propulsion with wind-assisted technology and air lubrication.

The three newbuilds are being built at China’s Dalian Shipbuilding Offshore Co. (DSOC). The shipyard launched the construction of the two LNG-powered, wind-assisted CO2 carriers in November 2022.

The vessels’ key features include pressurized cargo tanks designed for the transportation of liquefied CO2, contributing to a reduced carbon intensity compared to conventional alternatives.

The first two sister ships, boasting a cargo capacity of 7,500 cubic meters, are on track to set sail in 2024.

Japanese shipping major Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has entered into bareboat and time charter contracts with Northern Lights JV DA for the two 7,500 m3 liquefied CO2 ships.

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Namely, once operational, the ships will load captured and liquefied CO2 from industrial emitters and transport it to the Northern Lights receiving facilities in Øygarden, Norway as part of a comprehensive carbon capture, transport, and storage project.

The project comprises the development of a receiving terminal, underwater infrastructure (including the pipeline, subs installations, and wells), intermediate storage tanks, and onshore facilities.

The receiving terminal, the point where CO2 will be received from incoming ships, is in the commissioning phase, with 95% completion, and it is anticipated to be in full operational readiness next year.

From here, the CO2 will be stored in onshore tanks before being transported through a pipeline to an offshore reservoir for permanent and safe storage at a 2,600-meter depth under the seabed. Operations are scheduled to start in 2024. 

Northern Lights has signed a binding commercial agreement with Norwegian-based ammonia player Yara International which is expected to pave the way for the world’s first cross-border transportation and storage of CO2.

The agreement is expected to kickstart the commercial market for CCS in Europe, as CCUS grows in importance as a decarbonization solution aimed at helping the industry meet the UN emission reduction targets.

In addition, earlier this year Northern Lights JV and Ørsted signed a CO2 Transport and Services Agreement (TSA) to store 430,000 tonnes biogenic CO2 emissions per year from two power plants in Denmark.