Carbon capture and storage represents a key technology for reducing CO2 emissions. Statoil has become a world-leader in its development and application.
We work actively to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from our operations and our products. Fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal will be dominant energy sources for decades to come, and carbon capture and storage, abbreviated CCS, is therefore one of the most important measures in the long term for reducing carbon emissions globally.
Carbon dioxide can be captured before and after fossil fuels are burned. Moreover, carbon dioxide can be captured from various industrial processes. The technology is known, but there are several problems that have to be solved before it can be implemented on a large scale, including problems in connection with power production and refineries.
At Sleipner, CO2 is removed from the natural gas which contains too much carbon dioxide in the geological reservoir. The CO2 is then stored in the sub-surface.This technology is known, and it has also been used elsewhere, for example at the In Salah field in Algeria.
At Mongstad, the plan is to capture carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases from the combined heat and power plant (CHP) and from different emission points at the refinery. This is technologically challenging. Statoil therefore established a European Carbon Dioxide Test Centre (TCM) at Mongstad together with the Norwegian authorities and other industrial partners.
Captured CO2 can be stored in geological reservoirs in the same way as oil and gas have been stored for millions of years. On the basis of our experience and know-how in relation to oil and gas reservoirs, carbon dioxide from Sleipner has been stored in geological layers since 1996. This storage has been groundbreaking in global terms, and it has provided us with considerable expertise and experience of the geological storage of carbon dioxide.
For a CCS project to be regarded as a climate change mitigation activity, it is a prerequisite that the geological formations at the selected site have the appropriate long-term containment capability. Many countries have built CCS into their strategies for mitigation measures but the basis for regulating permission and control activities is only to a limited extent in place. We have been actively involved in advising the EU, national governments and international organisations on this matter.
Further involvement is necessary to encourage a regulatory and business framework that will enable new projects that can broaden the experience of geological storage and develop and mature the technology required to make carbon capture from power production economically viable.
In December 2008, the EU took a big step forward with regard to the framework for CCS and has thus become a model for other countries and regions.
This type of storage helps to keep carbon dioxide away from the atmosphere, thus reducing its contribution to climate change.
We are currently involved in four large-scale commercial projects involving carbon capture with varying degrees of maturity:
- The Sleipner area in the North Sea
- Snøhvit LNG production in northern Norway
- In Salah in Algeria
- The carbon dioxide facility at the Mongstad refinery
- According to an IEA report in 2008, CCS technology alone has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 20 % by 2050
- By the end of 2008 almost 11 million tons of CO2 had been stored safely at Sleipner West