Norway and Sweden agree to intensify cooperation on carbon capture and storage

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Prime ministers Jonas Gahr Støre and Magdalena Andersson met on 5 April for talks in Stockholm. The prime ministers agreed to conclude as soon as possible an agreement between Norway and Sweden on the export/import of carbon dioxide to enable cooperation between Norwegian and Swedish companies on the permanent storage of carbon dioxide in the Norwegian continental shelf.

Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Photo: Magnus Liljegren / Government Offices

“I am pleased that we are working together to further develop the close cooperation between Norway and Sweden. As part of this, we have agreed to strengthen cooperation on energy and climate issues in order to succeed in the green transition and the capture, transport and storage of carbon dioxide, which is a key element of this,” says Mr Støre.

An agreement between the countries is required under the London Protocol to allow carbon dioxide to be transported across their land border. When carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is employed at facilities with biogenic emissions, called bio-CCS, it results in negative emissions to the atmosphere. 

The countries have a solid foundation to build on in the form of Nordic energy and climate cooperation and the EEA Agreement. Both Norway and Sweden want to be the driving force for achieving national climate goals and carbon neutrality in the Nordic region and contribute to the achievement of the goals in the Paris Agreement by the whole world.

“Our countries have everything to gain from working together to speed up the green industrial revolution. Together with the other Nordic countries, we can show the world how the green transition can create more jobs and secure our welfare. We need to reduce emissions, but in order to achieve our goals we also need carbon capture and storage,” says Ms Andersson. 

Norway and Sweden also want to intensify their cooperation on technology development, energy infrastructure and the green transition in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the countries of the North Sea region.

Background:

Norway and Sweden are pursuing an ambitious climate and energy policy based on the Paris Agreement. In order to achieve the climate goals, substantial emission reductions will be required. In addition, CCS is likely to be a necessary complement to the emission reduction efforts, as a measure where no reasonable alternatives to fossil emissions exist or as a complementary measure in the form of bio-CCS. 

Norway and Sweden cooperate closely on energy and the climate, particularly through Nordic energy and climate cooperation and the EEA Agreement. Norway and Sweden were the first countries in the world to establish a cross-border certificate market to stimulate the development of renewable energy. The Norwegian and Swedish electricity markets are closely linked through a number of connections. Norway and Sweden are parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 (London Protocol) under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and have both ratified the amendments to the London Protocol which are required for the transport of carbon dioxide from Sweden for offshore storage in Norway. 

There is an increased interest in CCS in Sweden, both from industry and public agencies. The Swedish Government has instructed the Swedish Energy Agency to be the national centre (länk till Energimyndigheten) for carbon capture and storage. Sweden will also introduce operating support for bio-CCS through reverse auctions. The ambition is for an initial auction to take place at the end of 2022 in order to allow for the start of storage in 2026. 

Several actors in Sweden have the potential to conduct CCS, and the Norwegian Northern Lights partnership and several Swedish companies have entered into a statement of intent. In Sweden, actors have the opportunity to apply for central government investment support through the Green Industry Leap (länk) and a Swedish bio-CCS project has been granted funds through the EU Innovation Fund. 

In 2021, the Norwegian parliament approved the Longship project, a full-scale CCS demonstration project (länk). The Norwegian Government will cover two thirds of the total costs during the first phase of the project. Northen Lights (länk) is part of Langskips infrastruktur and has status as one of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI). The project has been funded by the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). 
The storage capacity of Northern Lights will be approximately five million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in phase 2. Norway has significant geological potential for storing carbon dioxide in addition to this.