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ORLEN to store carbon beneath Baltic Sea following Horisont Energi deal

Polish energy company ORLEN Group announced on Monday (5 September) that it will offer new carbon dioxide storage services – including beneath the Baltic Sea, after signing a letter of intent with Norwegian energy company Horisont Energi to explore potential collaboration on a carbon capture storage (CCS) project.

Horisont Energi is the owner of the Polaris licence on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, where a well has been drilled to confirm the feasibility of safe carbon injection. The agreement grants ORLEN, via its Norwegian subsidiary PGNiG Upstream Norway, up to 50 per cent interest in the licence and the Polaris operator status.

“Efficient and safe carbon dioxide storage is key to maintaining the competitiveness of industries facing high emissions costs. To continue their operations in Poland or the broader European Union, the steel, fertiliser and cement industries must devise effective strategies for managing carbon emissions. As part of the ORLEN Group’s strategy, we aim to develop strong capabilities in comprehensive industrial emissions management within a few years,” said Daniel Obajtek, President of ORLEN’s Management Board.

By 2030, ORLEN plans to store or utilise up to three million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year to reduce its own emissions and provide carbon management services to third parties. 

“We will also apply the experience we aim to gain off the coast of Norway in Poland. It will enable us to effectively implement proven and safe technologies and craft a competitive offer for industry in Poland. In practice, this means lower costs for Polish companies and the preservation of thousands of jobs in Poland,” Mr Obajtek added.

The estimated capacity of the Polaris field totals about 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, which would sustain storage operations for 12-25 years. PGNiG Upstream Norway has already completed technical and economic studies of the Polaris project and is now preparing to launch a detailed due diligence exercise.

Based on the potential project timetable, a development concept is to be selected in 2024, with the start of carbon injection expected in late 2028/early 2029.

The Polaris project aims to set up an ammonia plant in northern Norway utilising hydrogen obtained from natural gas. The process yields large quantities of carbon dioxide, which Horisont Energi plans to store, which would ensure demand for the service offered under the Polaris CCS project. The reservoir’s remaining capacity would be made available to third parties.

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