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Acclaimed for carbon dioxide removal

December 11, 2003, 13:40 CET

Even Solbraa from Statoil’s research and technology unit has won the Reodor Felgen prize for 2003 in recognition of his work on removing carbon dioxide from the Sleipner West wellstream.

This in-house award, awarded for the 17th time, is made annually to group employees who have contributed to innovative thinking and technological development.

Now 29, Dr Solbraa joined Statoil two years ago after securing a doctorate for research on carbon dioxide removal.

While writing his thesis, he collaborated closely with Statoil research centre staff who are involved with gas processing.

Sleipner West came on stream in 1996 with a dedicated plant to remove the carbon dioxide which makes up around 10 per cent of the North Sea field’s wellstream.

Sales specifications dictate that gas piped to European customers must contain no more than 2.5 per cent of this greenhouse gas.

Statoil accordingly had to find a way of reducing the carbon content, but has been compelled to blend Sleipner West gas with carbon-free supplies to meet the contractual quality.

Tests carried out by Statoil on the Sleipner installations this October showed that sufficient carbon can be extracted from the gas to fulfil the sales requirements.

According to Dr Solbraa, these findings can be incorporated in the existing removal plant with relatively straightforward modifications.

The Reodor Felgen jury noted that the prizewinner has built up a unique expertise over the past five years.

He has worked systematically and purposefully, and approached the issues both theoretically and experimentally.