Danish Offshore Carbon Storage Project Moves Towards Trial Phase

Illustration courtesy Wintershall Dea

Published Aug 17, 2021 9:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

Offshore carbon storage took a leap ahead Tuesday with an announcement by Denmark's Greensand consortium that it is moving ahead towards a pilot phase offshore injection test. 

INEOS Energy, Wintershall Dea, Maersk Drilling and more than two dozen other companies, research institutes and universities, have signed an agreement to support the second phase of the Greensand pilot project to demonstrate the safe and permanent storage of CO2. The decision follows on the completion of a phase-one study of the project's technical and commercial viability. 

The consortium will file a grant application with the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program in Denmark. If funded, the consortium targets the start of on-site work by the end of this year, with the offshore injection pilot test taking place in late 2022.

The Danish Parliament voted in December to set aside a funding pool to support an offshore CO2 storage pilot project in the Danish North Sea. The Greensand project proposal, if successful, could provide data and experience that could enable a larger-scale CO2 storage program by 2025.

"We are taking this step by step. Today we have the consortium in place, and if we are successful in receiving ongoing support from the Danish Government and advisory board, Greensand will be able to take another important step forward in supporting the Danish Climate Strategy," said Mads Weng Gade, the commercial director of Ineos Energy. 

The trial contemplates capturing carbon emissions from shoreside industrial sources, then transporting it by ship to a depleted offshore oil field, where it will be transferred to an injection platform via a hose arrangement similar to an SPM buoy. From the platform, the CO2 will be injected into a sandstone formation via a new well, where it will remain in permanent storage. 

Illustration courtesy Project Greensand

The first site that the consortium selected is the Nini West field, operated by Wintershall Dea. An assessment by DNV concluded that the storage formation in the field could absorb up to about 450,000 tonnes of CO2 per year - the equivalent of the annual emissions of about 100,000 cars. According to Wintershall, an expansion of the program to adjacent sites could potentially store up to 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, more than 10 percent of Denmark's annual total emissions. The consortium believes that the capacity could be even higher, potentially as much as eight million tonnes per annum.

As an offshore facility with receiving capability, Greensand would be equipped to accept shipments of CO2 from multiple sources, not just Denmark.  

"Open access infrastructure for transport and storage of CO2 is key to deliver on the Paris agreement," said Henrik Madsen, chairman of consortium member Aker Carbon Capture. "Greensand can be an enabler for a sustainable Danish industry by offering permanent CO2 storage to a variety of greenhouse gas emitters, and thus supporting a strong common European drive towards net zero."