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Equinor and GRTgaz sign agreement to develop CO2 transport infrastructure in France

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Equinor and main French gas transmission operator GRTgaz sign project development agreement (PDA) for a CO2 transport system for captured CO2 from industrial emitters in France to safe and permanent storage offshore Norway via the planned CO2 Highway Europe pipeline project.

The development will consist of a network of onshore CO2 pipelines, to be developed by GRTGaz, which will connect France’s Dunkirk industrial area to Equinor’s CO2 Highway Europe, a large-scale CO 2 pipeline being planned by Equinor also connecting Zeebrugge, Belgium to a portfolio of storage sites under the seabed offshore Norway.

The project under the PDA aims to help decarbonise the Dunkirk industrial area which accounts for around 20 percent of France’s industrial CO2 emissions.

Specifically, GRTgaz will develop a 30 km onshore pipeline network in the Dunkirk region, a compressor station in Dunkirk sending the CO2 into the offshore pipeline connecting to the CO 2 Highway Europe.

The capacity in the initial phase will be 3 to 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, and the capacity can be expanded to also accommodate CO2 captured at other industrial clusters in France.

Photo from the signing
H.E. Niels Engelschiøn (left), Norway’s Ambassador to France, Grete Tveit, senior vice president Low carbon solutions, Equinor, H.E. Florence Robine, France’s Ambassador to Norway, and Sandrine Meunier, chief executive officer of GRTgaz.

“For industries that cannot decarbonise directly through clean power, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) offers a viable solution. By building CO2 transport and storage solutions at an industrial scale together with GRTgaz we can help carbon-intensive industries in France to continue developing and securing jobs and value creation in a sustainable future. The collaboration also strengthens the viability of the CO2 Highway Europe project as the French connection will further strengthen economies of scale », says Grete Tveit, senior vice president Low carbon solutions, Equinor.

“GRTgaz is developing dedicated transmission networks contributing to transport CO2 from the French industrial sites where it is captured to storage and utilisation sites in France and Europe. Indeed, the capture, storage and utilisation of CO2 will play a major role in decarbonising the national and European economy, and infrastructure is an essential element in this CO2 value chain. We are proud to sign this partnership with Equinor and to share our respective and complementary expertise in order to provide France with an effective and competitive decarbonisation solution", says Sandrine Meunier, chief executive officer of GRTgaz.

Equinor and GRTgaz, with their complementary skills, will cooperate in the development of their CO2 transmission and storage infrastructures and associated services: network planning, technical design and industrial safety, interoperability, regulatory aspects and institutional relations. Feasibility studies are currently under way, with the aim of launching basic engineering studies at the end of 2024 and commissioning in 2029.

In France, this project is in line with the proposed government's strategy (France 2030) for the capture, use or permanent geological storage of carbon (CCUS) and with the desire to step up collaboration between France and Norway on green industrial transformation, in accordance with the strategic partnership signed between the two countries on 16 January 2024.

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