Porthos Taps MAN Energy Solutions for Dutch North Sea CCS Project

MAN Energy Solutions has been selected to take part in the Port of Rotterdam CO₂ Transport Hub & Offshore Storage (Porthos) project.

Artist impression; Courtesy of Port of Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam, Gasunie and EBN are jointly preparing a new project in which CO₂ generated by industry in Rotterdam’s port area is captured and stored in empty gas fields deep in the North Sea seabed.

Because of the lack of a final investment decision (FID) the assignment to MAN Energy Solutions will be done in parts, tender documents said.

1) An assignment for the engineering of the compressor units;

Subject to FID:

2) An assignment for realisation (manufacturing to commissioning) and delivery of the compressor units, auxiliaries, delivery of spare parts, etc.;

3) Optional design and supply of intermediate auxiliary compressors to achieve the correct emitter CO2 process conditions;

4) Optional the assignment for a maintenance contract for the compressor units.

The magnitude of the contract is the delivery of a number of integrally geared compressor units with different capacity which is now estimated at 3 compressor units. On the long term this might increase up to 5 or 6 (or maybe even more depending of developments within the energy transition).

The Porthos project should enable various companies to supply CO2 to a transport pipeline that runs straight through the port area. The CO2 will be transported via this pipeline to an empty gas field beneath the North Sea for permanent storage.

According to Porthos project planning, the first CO2 will be stored by the end of 2023. The first phase is expected to only involve CO2 from companies in Rotterdam. In the meantime, North Sea Port and the Port of Antwerp will be investigating the options of laying joint pipelines in their areas to which industry can connect. These local pipelines could then be connected with Rotterdam Porthos in a subsequent phase. As well as studying the feasibility, CO2 TransPorts will also be investigating the timing and amount of CO2 that can be stored.

The European Union is prepared in principle to provide a subsidy for a project to store CO2 from industry in Antwerp, Ghent, Zeeland and Rotterdam beneath the North Sea. This was revealed in the list of energy projects that the European Parliament approved on 12 February 2020 and that, as a result, received ‘Project of Common Interest’ (PCI) status.

In 2020, the three ports can apply for a subsidy from a European fund for infrastructure, the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’. The PCI status is valid for two years (2020 and 2021). After this, the companies must submit a new application.

Whether this subsidy will be awarded and how the financial outline will look for all involved parties is expected to be known by early 2021. Companies will then have to take the final decision to capture CO2 and deliver it to Porthos.

In December 2019, Project organisation Porthos signed an agreement with four companies to work in parallel over the coming nine months on preparations for the capture, transport and storage of CO2. These companies are ExxonMobil, Shell, Air Liquide and Air Products.

CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) is an important element in achieving the Dutch Climate Agreement objectives. CCS is also needed for the production of climate-neutral blue hydrogen, which will enable the hydrogen economy to get off the ground quickly.