Chinese shipyard wins CO2 vessel order as final investment decision on Equinor’s landmark Northern Lights project nears

7500-cubic metre capacity vessel scheduled for delivery in 2025

Europe’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) trailblazer Northern Lights has awarded Dalian Shipping Offshore Company Ltd (DSOC), formally known as DSIC Offshore, a contract for construction of a newbuild carbon dioxide carrier, as its nears the final investment decision for phase two of its eponymous CCS project in Norway. The latest order marks the third such vessel that the joint venture has commissioned from China within two years.

A replica of the previous two units, the third vessel boasts a length of 130 metres and a width of 21.2 metres, and it will have cargo capacity of 7500 cubic metres. Scheduled for delivery in 2025, the latest vessel will be equipped with an air lubrication system and a Flettner rotor. The vessel, featuring purpose-built pressurised cargo tanks, will be registered in Norway and operated by Northern Lights under the Norwegian flag, while being classed by DNV, according to DSOC’s announcement on social media. The ship’s liquid cargo system adopts a water-glycol loop to enhance its suitability for icy seas.
Rystad Energy estimates a fleet of 55 carriers will be required by 2030 to transport carbon dioxide as emitters look for flexible ways to move captured carbon.

In a commitment to reduce emissions, the Chinese shipyard plans to incorporate innovative technologies such as rotor sails, bubble drag reduction systems, main engine exhaust gas monitoring systems and shaft generators.

Northern Lights is an integral part of Longship, the Norwegian government’s ambitious Nkr20 billion ($2.3 billion) full-scale CCS project. This groundbreaking initiative aims to establish the world’s first commercialised cross-border CO2 transport and storage service. It involves the transportation of liquefied carbon dioxide to an onshore receiving terminal near Bergen, Norway, followed by the injection of CO2 into a reservoir beneath the seabed.

Upstream earlier reported that Northern Lights is targeting 2024 for the final investment decision for the second phase of its CCS project.

The first two CO2 vessels are set for delivery next year, aligning perfectly with the start-up of the project’s Phase 1 that can handle up to 1.5 million tonnes per annum of CO2.

These vessels will load captured and liquefied CO2 and convey it to Northern Lights’ receiving terminal in Oygarden, Norway. From there, the CO2 will be transported via pipeline infrastructure for permanent storage in a geological reservoir situated 2600 meters below the seabed in the North Sea.

The Northern Lights joint venture comprising Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies as partners asserts it will create the world’s first cross-border, open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure network.