Norway’s ‘Longship’ CCS Facility set to Conquer Carbon Emissions by 2024

Linked to a cement factory, the CCS facility will cost the Norweigian government NKr25bn

Norcem cement plant Brevik, Source: HeidelbergCement

Norway has decided to revisit an old project to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce greenhouse emissions. A cement factory owned by the German company HeidelbergCement at Brevik will be linked to a CCS facility called ‘Longship’. At NKr25bn, ‘Longship’ is a steep investment for the Norweigian government which has been facing internal debates about the project’s profitability. The government has already announced that progressing towards its goal to reduce their emissions by 50% (from 1990 levels) by 2030 will mean a three-fold increase in carbon tax.

‘Longship’ is a symbol of Norway’s changing image as a top petroleum producer to a decisive player in climate action leadership. This year, the country issued a record breaking number of oil exploration licenses in the Arctic which also enabled its electric vehicle sales to surpass regular vehicles – a global first. Despite the debates around financing and the country’s self-image, ‘Longship’ is an essential flagship project for Norway. The country is western Europe’s largest petroleum exporter and if it has to sustain its heavy industries – which are crucial to Norweigian economy – then it must actively cut down its emission rates. The government views the project as a significant contribution to sustainable innovation efforts around the world.

‘Longship’ is not Norway’s first foray into CCS technology. A decade ago, it explored the same technology as a means to cut emissions from its coal and petrol-powered electricity plants. Since these plants could easily transition to renewable energy, the high costs of CCS were not justified and the government had to abandon their efforts before the project could be completed.

Informally known as the country’s ‘moon landing’, the government seems determined to learn from their mistakes. The plan this time is to focus on industries where currently it is close to impossible to reduce carbon emissions. In a further effort to reduce risks, Norway has stated willingness to also connect a waste incinerator plant to a CCS facility on the condition that the EU becomes an investor.

‘Longship’ also guarantees the Norweigian government’s involvement in ‘Northern Lights’, an international project offering manufacturers the service of collecting and shipping carbon emissions (from CCS facilities such as ‘Longship’) for permanent storage under the North Sea.