Network will deliver industrial emissions from northern France to Equinor's planned CO2 pipeline. [Image: Equinor]

By Dale Lunan

Norway’s Equinor and French distributor GRTgaz said June 17 they had entered into a project development agreement (PDA) for a system to transport COcaptured from industrial emitters in France to storage sites offshore Norway via the planned CO2 Highway Europe pipeline project.

The development will consist of a network of onshore CO2 pipelines, which GRTgaz will develop, connecting the Dunkirk Industrial Area in northern France to Equinor’s 1,000-km CO2 Highway Europe, which is being developed to also connect Zeebrugge, Belgium to CO2 storage sites offshore Norway.

The PDA is designed to help decarbonise the Dunkirk industrial area, which accounts for about 20% of France’s industrial CO2 emissions.

Capacity in the initial phase will be 3-5.5mn tonnes/year of CO2, although capacity can be expanded to include CO2 captured from other industrial clusters in France.

“For industries that cannot decarbonise directly through clean power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) offers a viable solution,” said Grete Tveit, Equinor’s senior vice president, low carbon solutions. “By building CO2 transport and storage solutions at an industrial scale together with GRTgaz we can help carbon-intensive industries in France to continue developing and securing jobs and value creation in a sustainable future.”

The collaboration will also strengthen the CO2 Highway Europe project by strengthening economies of scale, she said. 

Under the project, GRTgaz will develop a 30-km onshore pipeline network in the Dunkirk region and a compressor station at Dunkirk that will deliver CO2 into the CO2 Highway Europe pipeline.

“GRTgaz is developing dedicated transmission networks contributing to the transport of CO2 from the French industrial sites where it is captured to storage and utilisation sites in France and Europe,” GRTgaz CEO Sandrine Meunier said. “Indeed, the capture, storage and utilisation of CO2 will play a major role in decarbonising the national and European economy, and infrastructure is an essential element in this CO2 value chain.”

Equinor and GRTgaz will cooperate in the development of their CO2 transmission and storage infrastructures and associated services, including network planning, technical design and industrial safety, interoperability, regulatory aspects and institutional relations. 

Feasibility studies are currently under way, with the aim of launching basic engineering studies at the end of 2024 and commissioning the project in 2029. 

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