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The Guardian: Buried at sea: Shell's plan for greenhouse gases

Terry Macalister
Thursday March 9, 2006
The biggest-ever scheme to bury greenhouse gases below the seabed is being planned by energy groups Shell and Statoil. The plan will allow Norwegian gas to be developed for Britain with less environmental damage.
Up to 2.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – the same as would be produced by 1m cars – is to be captured and stored in offshore oil fields, Draugen and Heidrun, at a cost of up to $1.5bn (£867m).
Carbon capture and storage is seen as a potentially vital tool for cutting CO2 emissions and helping to reduce global warming but the technique is still in its infancy. The Norwegian project will not reduce existing CO2 levels but will lead to cleaner power being produced to run the Ormen Lange field, which will eventually provide up to 20% of the UK's entire gas needs.
Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said: “This is an important milestone towards our vision for greener fossil fuels with part of the CO2 captured and sequestered underground.”
His Statoil counterpart, Helge Lund, said that if it was successful the technology could be used at other fields off Norway and around the world. The country's environment minister, Helen Bjoernoy, said the plan should be seen as a “showcase for Norway as an environmentally-friendly technology country” but she said it was too early to say whether the government would help finance it.
A new gas-fired power station will be built at Tjeldbergodden in mid-Norway which will be used to provide power for the Ormen Lange field and surrounding communities. CO2 from the plant will be injected into the Draugen and Heidrun oil reservoirs to push out further supplies of oil, leaving the CO2 safe under the seabed.
The project will be phased in between 2010 and 2012 and the two oil companies admit they are still relying on “substantial government funding” to get it off the ground. Although this claims to be the biggest offshore project, Statoil has been capturing CO2 on the Sleipner field off Norway since 1996. Shell has been using greenhouses gases since the 1970s in oil recovery in Texas but the cost of seabed schemes has deterred many others.
BP has recently announced an ambitious plan to build a hydrogen plant in Peterhead in Scotland. Carbon dioxide emitted in the production of hydrogen would be reinjected into a North Sea oil field. It also has announced plans for an even larger hydrogen-fuelled plant in California with the CO2 emissions there being piped off to other oil fields for storage.

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