– We are experiencing a lot of pressure. Between 10 and 15 companies of various sizes have made contact, says Øygarden mayor Tom Georg Indrevik.
Yesterday, the government’s prestigious project “Langskip” got an international major player on the team.
At a press conference, Microsoft President Mike Smith announced that the company had entered into a letter of intent with the large-scale CO₂ storage project Northern Lights.
The project includes transport, reception and permanent storage of CO₂ in the North Sea and is part of the Norwegian project «Longship».
From a large terminal in Øygarden outside Bergen, CO₂ will be pumped via a pipeline to a well and stored 2,500 meters below sea level.
The greenhouse gas will first be captured at two large facilities in Oslo and Brevik and will be transported in specially designed ships to Øygarden.
Now more companies will follow Microsoft and take part in what is set to be a green industrial adventure at the far end of the ocean.
– The interest comes from both national and international companies that see the benefit of getting rid of CO₂. Being established here will give them a short-distance solution, says general manager Ronny Haufe in CCB Energy Holdning.
According to Haufe, these are companies in the process and hydrogen industry, companies that are experts in CO₂ capture and companies that want to become more climate-friendly.
– This will be important for much of the industry in Europe and anyone who wants to deposit CO₂. The plant will also be absolutely crucial for Norway to meet the climate goals, says Haufe.
Believe in new jobs
Total investments for “Longships” by the government are estimated at NOK 17.1 billion.
This includes the storage part of the Northern Lights project which takes place in Western Norway.
The costs for capture and storage are estimated to cost NOK 25.1 billion over 10 years.
The mayor of Øygarden believes it is realistic that the project will be able to create many new jobs in the municipality.
– In the long run, we believe this can generate between 500 and 1500 jobs in everything that happens around. The process plant itself will not have as many jobs when it is completed, says Indrevik.
The project must first go through the budget negotiations in the Storting before a final green light can be given.
However, the mayor does not think there is any danger that the plans will stop now.
– Both Northern Lights and Equinor have done such a good job that I expect the facility can open according to plan in 2023, he says.