Northern Lights is a Norwegian government funded carbon capture and storage (CCS) project that is drilling test wells in the North Sea in order to find a suitable location to store CO2. The project is led by Shell and Total as well as Equinor which has also joined them. What is intended is that when the CO2 reaches a terminal on land it can be channeled to subsea wells as published in Energypost by Lee Beck1, advisor to the Global CCS Institute and member of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center.
However some voices such as Hans Joosten2 have suggested that before trying to bury carbon dioxide with technology we should think about flooding peatlands. Peatlands are a unique type of wetland that covers 3% of the earth’s surface and stores 30 % of carbon sequestered in the soil – double size of all the forests in the world. Because of this ecosystem service peatlands are considered the most effective carbon sinks on Earth3.
Last October a major hurdle posed by the London Protocol, banning the cross-border transport and export of CO2 for geological storage offshore, was removed. Ultimately Northern Lights was designated as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Union (EU), making it eligible for expedited permits and EU funds and highlighting the importance of the project in the context of European decarbonisation4. This could become a new business since this practice consumes enormous amounts of electrical energy and while Norway continues to export enormous amounts of oil it disguises itself as a country with emissions 0 promoting projects that also involve hydrocarbon titans such as Total or Shell without being clear what will happen to these underwater CO2 stores when they no longer have more capacity.
We must continue to closely monitor these projects and help promote and defend initiatives that restore natural CO2 fixers such as peatlands, such as the Wetlands project5.
1 https://energypost.eu/norways-northern-lights-project-creating-the-ccs-business-model/ 2 https://www.dw.com/es/atrapar-el-co2-as%C3%AD-combate-noruega-el-cambio-clim%C3%A1tico/av-55684688 3 https://www.unep.org/es/noticias-y-reportajes/comunicado-de-prensa/alemania-apoyara-la-proteccion-de-las-turberas-un-aliado 4 https://elperiodicodelaenergia.com/noruega-quiere-liderar-el-negocio-de-enterrar-el-co2-ya-esta-perforando-pozos-en-el-mar-del-norte-como-almacenamiento/ 5 https://www.wetlands.org/