Supermajors ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies are teaming up with industrial companies Air Liquide, Borealis and Yara International to decarbonise an industrial basin in France’s Normandy region.

The companies confirmed in a joint press release on Monday they had signed a memorandum of understanding to assess the technical and economical feasibility of implementing an industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) chain — from their industrial facilities in Normandy to storage in the North Sea.

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The project will aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the French industrial basin by up to 3 million tonnes per annum by 2030 — the equivalent of taking more than 1 million passenger cars off the road.

North Sea CCS

TotalEnergies is already involved in CO2 storage projects in the North Sea, including the Equinor-led Northern Lights project, which aims to store 1.5 million tpa of CO2 from the first phase development, while a potential second phase development could boost the capacity to 3.5 million tpa.

TotalEnergies is also involved with Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell at the Aramis project in the Netherlands, which intends to convert depleted gas fields into carbon storage sites.

“We are pleased to join forces with some major industrial players of the industrial basin of Normandy to collectively engage into a cooperation to reduce the CO2 emissions from our facilities,” said TotalEnergies president of Refining & Chemicals, Bernard Pinatel.

“This collective effort will be facilitated by TotalEnergies’ actions in developing, with partners, CO2 storages in the North Sea such as the Northern Lights and Aramis projects.”

Decades of experience

The partners in the Normandy alliance will initially study the technical and economical feasibility of the project — with the joint venture to seek funding from European, French and regional schemes — while they have also stated they are open to other industrial parties joining the alliance.

“ExxonMobil has more than 30 years of experience in CCS technology and is advancing plans for more than 20 new CCS opportunities around the world,” the president of ExxonMobil’s activities in France, Charles Amyot, said.

“We are pleased to collaborate on a joint study to assess the feasibility of the deployment of CCS in the Axe Seine/Normandy area, one of the most important technologies required to achieve society’s climate goals.”

Air Liquide stated it would bring its “unique expertise” in CO2 capture and liquefaction technologies to the partnership.

Air Liquide’s executive vice president Francois Jackow noted the company had been using its Cryocap technology at its plant in Port Jerome, Normandy since 2015, which he said captured up to 90% of CO2 emissions.

Meanwhile, president of Yara Industrial Solutions, Jorge Noval, noted the alliance would help decarbonise Yara’s site in Normandy and support the Norwegian chemical company’s aim of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Carbon capture and storage is essential in achieving our mid-term ambition of a 30% reduction in absolute CO2 emissions in 2030 compared to 2018, meaning a reduction of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to 100,000 tonnes [of] blue ammonia at Le Havre production plant,” he said.

“We will implement future technologies to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 in line with Yara’s ambition. The decarbonsation of our site in France will allow us to continue developing innovative applications for our industrial customers and the impact on society will be significant.”

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