Norwegian energy company Equinor has been awarded its first carbon capture and storage (CCS) exploration permit in Denmark, partnering with local energy companies Ørsted and Nordsøfonden.

The partners were awarded permits for the CO₂ Storage Kalundborg project, which includes a reservoir approximately 1,400m below ground and the potential capacity to store up to 12 million tonnes (mt) of CO2 per year.

The partnership plans to start surveys to assess if its onshore licence in the North West Zealand can be developed into a safe CO₂ storage facility.

The project could start storing CO₂ by the end of this decade if the partnership successfully develops the permit into a storage facility that is approved by the Danish authorities.

Grete Tveit, senior vice-president for low carbon solutions at Equinor, said: “Our first important task in the project is to ensure that environmental requirements are met before seismic and subsurface data collection can start. The exploration phase will last several years, before the Danish authorities approve the licence area as suitable for safe and permanent CO₂ storage.”

Equinor holds a 60% share in the exploration licence, while Ørsted owns 20% and the Danish state 20% through Nordsøfonden.

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In a press statement, Equinor said it can expect a 4–8% real base project returns for its early phase CO₂ storage business and “further value uplift potential” when commercial markets are developed.

“We will use our experience from safely storing CO₂ on the Norwegian Continental Shelf for nearly 30 years and other CCS developments when exploring the permit in Denmark. To mature more CO₂ storage capacity aligns with our ambition of having 30–50mt million tons of CO₂ transport and storage capacity per year by 2035,” Tveit added.

In March, Equinor scrapped plans to help build a green hydrogen facility at the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm in the UK. It was partnering with SSE to build the facility, but the electricity system operator decided to build it at Birkhill Wood instead.