The four exploration licences that have been offered are located in the North Sea.

By Shardul Sharma

The Norwegian ministry of energy announced on June 20 the award of four new exploration licences related to CO2 storage on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“The government is committed to ensuring that CO2 storage can become a commercially profitable and sustainable ocean industry in Norway,” said minister of energy Terje Aasland. “For the players to succeed with their ambitious plans, the storage part of the value chain must also be in place.”

The four exploration licences that have been offered are located in the North Sea. Two of the licences are offered to Equinor. One licence is offered to a consortium of Var Energi, OMV, and Lime Petroleum, and one licence is offered to a group consisting of Aker BP and PGNiG.

In line with the regulations on the transportation and storage of CO2 in subsea reservoirs on the continental shelf, the ministry normally expects to award an exploration licence prior to awarding an exploitation licence in a relevant area. Exploration licences can be awarded to one or more competent companies. If a licence is awarded to several companies, the ministry will generally appoint one of the companies as the operator.

The award of exploration licences will normally include a work programme with one binding phase and subsequent conditional phases with decision points for continuation or relinquishment. Relinquishing allows other stakeholders with storage needs to apply for awards of the area. The work programme will normally end with a requirement that the companies make an investment decision on the realisation of CO2 storage and then submit a plan for development and operation for the storage location or relinquish the area.

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