ORLEN Group acquires stake in carbon dioxide storage project in Norway
PGNiG Upstream Norway of the ORLEN Group has signed an agreement with Horiosnt Energi AS to acquire a 50% interest in the CO2 exploration licence Polaris in the Barents Sea. The transaction marks a significant step in advancing the Group’s emerging business line focused on the management of industrial CO2 emissions. Polaris stands out as one of the most advanced carbon storage projects on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
"We are embarking on another project aimed at fortifying ORLEN’s standing as a regional leader in the energy transition. CO2 capture and storage will play a pivotal role in delivering the Group’s climate policy, also enabling us to introduce a new carbon management service. With soaring CO2 allowance prices, carbon storage becomes crucial for sustaining the competitiveness of certain industries in Poland and other EU countries. The growing interest in carbon storage services underscores the significance of today’s transaction, granting the ORLEN Group an interest in the Polaris licence in the Barents Sea, designated for carbon dioxide injection. The project will enhance our capabilities and know-how in offshore CO2 storage, a valuable asset that can also be leveraged in Poland," said Daniel Obajtek, ORLEN CEO and President of the Management Board.
Under the agreement between PGNiG Upstream Norway (PUN) of the ORLEN Group and Horisont Energi AS, PUN will acquire a 50% interest in the licence and will become its operator, leveraging its extensive experience garnered over more than 15 years on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The transaction follows a letter of intent signed by the companies in September this year. The agreement is subject to approval of Norwegian authorities.
The estimated storage capacity of the geological structures within the Polaris licence that is attributable to PGNiG Upstream Norway’s interest totals about 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, which should sustain storage operations up to 25 years. The preliminary schedule indicates that if the estimated storage capacity is confirmed, carbon dioxide injection could begin in late 2028 or early 2029. Part of the stored CO2 will be sourced from an ammonia plant, which construction is planned by Horisont Energi as a part of a separate ‘Barents Blue’ project. The remaining capacity would be made available to third parties.
"The Polaris project has the potential to contribute to emission reductions at an industrial scale and is representative of the rapid development of the CCS industry in Norway and Europe. Polaris will also play an integral role in the ‘Barents Blue’ clean ammonia project," said Bjørgulf Haukelidsæter Eidesen, CEO of Horisont Energi.
CO2 capture and storage or utilisation is one of the solutions that will help ORLEN achieve its 25% reduction target for emissions generated by its refining, petrochemical, and upstream operations by the close of 2030. In line with the ORLEN Group’s strategy, the goal is to have the capability to store or utilise up to 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by 2030. This potential would be leveraged not only to bring down its own emissions but also to provide carbon management services to external customers, particularly industries facing limited opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint due to technological constraints. These include cement, steel and chemical industries, especially fertilizer manufacturers. Another CO2 management project undertaken by ORLEN involves constructing a marine terminal for the transshipment of CO2, which would then be transported by ship and stored beneath the North and Baltic Sea. The initiative is a component the ECO2CEE project, which has recently been included in Projects of Common Interest list. The list encompasses regional projects of significant importance for the implementation of the European Union’s energy and climate policy.
The Norwegian Continental Shelf is among the key foreign markets in which the ORLEN Group operates. Via the Baltic Pipe, ORLEN can deliver to Poland more than 8 billion cubic metres of Norwegian gas, with an increasing share of its own production. By the end of 2030, the Group plans to ramp up gas production from its Norwegian assets to over 6 billion cubic metres per year. In November of this year, PGNiG Upstream Norway entered into an agreement to purchase shares in KUFPEC Norway, paving the way for the acquisition of interests in five producing fields. The acquisition will allow the company to increase its natural gas production to more than 4 billion cubic metres per year, starting in 2024.