Permanent storage of carbon dioxide is to be trialled in the North Sea later this year after Belgium and Denmark agreed to allow cross-border transport of captured CO2 from industrial operations to the reservoirs being developed as part of the Greensand carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

The agreement is a milestone step for the consortium behind Greensand, which is aiming to build a position across the entire supply chain for CCS in Europe encompassing capture from third-party clients, shipping and storage in the depleted Nini West oilfields in the Danish North Sea.

The deal — signed in Denmark on Friday by Belgian Federal Deputy Prime Minister & North Sea Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, and Denmark’s Climate, Energy & Energy Supply Minister Dan Jorgensen — will allow CO2 collected at sites in Belgium to be taken across the border into the Danish waters that host the storage site.

“We have signed an agreement with Denmark to co-operate on this so that we can store our captured CO2 in their empty oil and gas fields,” Van Quickenborne said.

For the trial project, CO2 will be captured at a Belgian ethylene plant run by Ineos Oxide, and shipped via the port of Antwerp to Ineos’ Nini West oil platform, located 200 kilometres off the coast of Denmark, where it will be injected as a liquid into the former oilfield at a depth of 1800 metres.

If the pilot project is successful, the storage capacity of the Nini West and Nini Main fields will be scaled up to a total 1.5 million tonnes per annum of CO2 by 2025.

A further Greensand expansion between 2025 and 2030 would involve depleted fields in the Siri Fairway area, which could unlock further storage scaling up to 8 million tpa of CO2 by 2030.

Greensand partners

Ineos and German oil and gas producer Wintershall Dea are among the leading partners in the Greensand consortium, which comprises 23 players in total.

Other names include Maersk Drilling, Semco Maritime and the Danish Energy Agency (EUDP), which awarded €26 million (around $25.5 million at current exchange rates) in funding for the project last December.

“Over the past 12 years, we have worked in collaboration with two other industrial partners to capture, purify and liquefy CO2 on the site,” said Roel De Vil, site manager at the Ineos Oxide plant in Zwijndrecht that will supply the carbon volume.

“Ineos will be the first Belgian company to store CO2 in the Danish North Sea under the agreement.”

Ineos Oxide is part of the UK-headquartered chemicals and energy supplier Ineos.

Classification society DNV GL certified that the Nini West field is suitable for injecting 450,000 tpa CO2 per well for a 10-year period, and that the subsea reservoir can safely contain the CO2.

The Greensand project is aiming to set up an open-source supply chain, providing CCS services to third-party customers in Europe.

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