Ref. Ares(2020)5233507 - 05/10/2020
CCS and the
The positive economic impact
of a European CCS ecosystem
A memorandum by the Northern
Lights Project of Common Interest
(PCI), consisting of projects from:
Acorn, Air Liquide, ArcelorMittal,
Borg CO2, Equinor, Ervia, Eyde
Cluster, Fortum, Fluxys, H2
Northern Lights PCI
Eemshaven, HeidelbergCement, Net
Zero Teesside, Nordland CO2 Hub,
Port of Antwerp, Preem, Shell,
Stockholm Exergi and Total
What this memorandum aims at demonstrating:
CCS is a proven technology, necessary to decarbonise and safeguard European industry and
jobs in a low-carbon economy
The industrial projects that together make up the Northern Lights PCI have an extraordinary
potential to reduce Europe’s CO2 emissions and create and protect thousands of jobs
The Northern Lights PCI partners are ready to quickly move into execution, given the right
political and financial framework – we can do it with your help
CCS has a key role to play in Europe’s green
Europe is facing an unprecedented socio-economic crisis due to the COVID-19 outbreak, whose real impact is still to unfold.
As the EU seeks solutions to reboot the economy and lead Europe out of the recession, we are presented with a unique
opportunity to put the ﬁght against climate change at the centre of the economic strategy. Carbon Capture and Storage
(CCS) projects that can rapidly move into implementation should be considered in any economic recovery plan
, due to
their capacity to deliver quickly in terms of jobs and economic growth while delivering on the EU emission reduction targets.
CCS is a proven technology, necessary to achieve the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality objective
CCS has great emissions reduction potential, as it prevents CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Analysis by the
most prominent international bodies, including the IEA and the IPCC, have consistently shown that CCS is an essential part
of the lowest cost path towards meeting the Paris Agreement goals.
Similarly, in the EU’s Clean Planet for All1, CCS is listed
as one of the strategic building blocks to achieve climate neutrality. Moreover, when paired with bioenergy used for power
generation or biofuel production, it is one of the few technologies that can deliver negative CO2 emissions.
CCS technologies are proven and commercially available today
; they have been in operation since the 1970s with 19 large-
scale CCS facilities currently operating globally. Geological permanent storage is safe and secure, with over 260 Mt of CO2
emissions from human activity already captured and stored2. Global estimates show that there are vast geological storage
resources to meet the highest requirements for CCS to achieve climate change targets, including within Europe3.
CCS can help safeguard existing industrial activity and jobs while decarbonising the economy
According to a 2018 Endrava report, emissions from power and heat plants, industrial sites and waste management
installations in Europe account for two thirds of all CO2 emissions4. Decarbonising these sectors with renewables and energy
efficiency alone will not suffice, as energy-intensive industries require high-temperature heat that cannot be easily or cost-
effectively electrified and sectors such as cement or steel emit CO2 as part of their manufacturing process. CCS can play a
crucial role in decarbonising European industry while maintaining its productivity, both through the capturing of CO2
emitted by industries and through the manufacturing of clean hydrogen for transport, heat and power
Estimates show that European jobs linked directly and indirectly to the emergence of a market for CCS can reach 150,000
in 20505. However, and crucially, by far the largest job and value creation effect of CCS is that it enables a successful and
just transformation of existing industrial activity into a low-carbon industry
, avoiding ‘carbon leakage’ and therefore
protecting existing jobs. CCS can enable industrial regions in Europe to transform into low carbon regions, also with cleaner
air and improved health. These reinvigorated regions will also attract new, low-carbon industries and the associated jobs
and be central in the transition to a zero emissions economy.
1 COM (2018) 773 –
A Clean Planet for All: A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy 2 2019 Global Status of CCS Report, G
lobal CCS Institute, 2019.
3 The potential for CCS and CCU in Europe. Report to the thirty second meeting of the European Gas Regulatory Forum, IOGP, 2019
4 Cauchois, G., Rambech, E., Vandenbussche, V. (2018). Potential for CCS in Europe: Report for NOROG. Endrava report 2018.
5 Størset, S. Ø., Tangen, G., Wolfgang, O. and Sand, G. (2018). Industrial opportunities and employment prospects in large-scale CO2 management in Norway. SINTEF Report
2018:00450. Accesible here
CCS supports a clean hydrogen and circular economy
Decarbonisation of key sectors such as electricity generation, transport (particularly heavy-duty vehicles) and industrial
processes that use high-grade heat and hydrogen as chemical feedstock will require the use of hydrogen in large quantities.
Today, around 70% of hydrogen production comes from natural gas; if decarbonised with CCS, it will accelerate the
establishment of clean hydrogen value chains. Such a development would create a new low-carbon industry and jobs, with
the potential to account for 24% of final energy demand and 5.4m jobs by 20506.
As renewable electricity capacity continues to grow, electricity grids will have to be equipped to cope with intermittent
generation and effectively meet rising electricity demand. Hydrogen with CCS or CCGT with CCS, allows for low-carbon
production of energy and can be easily stored to provide reliable clean power
Finally, the development of CO2 capture facilities and transport solutions can speed up the industrial re-use of carbon, thus acting as an enabler of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) to deliver a circular economy
, since the deployment of these
services is mutually beneficial for both CCS and CCU and will help bring costs down and create even more jobs.
A European CCS value chain to drive
CCS development and industrial
The Northern Lights Project of Common Interest (PCI) is a CO2 cross-border
transport connection project where CO2 captured from industrial sites in
Europe will be collected by ship and transported to the Norwegian
Continental Shelf for permanent storage subsea, resulting in a full-
scale CCS value chain. Equinor, Shell and Total announced on 15
May 2020 that they have decided to invest in the Northern Lights
transport and storage solution.
The investment decision is subject
to final investment decision by Norwegian authorities and approval
from EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).
The development of a European CCS ecosystem
can be a powerful driver for carbon capture in Europe and globally
It is only after providing a secure and reliable CO2 transportation and storage network that European industries can start
considering capturing their carbon. By offering an open source CO2 transport and storage network, Northern Lights opens
the possibility for any industrial site interested in capturing its CO2, to permanently store it safely
. Furthermore, the ship
transport solution provides flexibility to reach multiple carbon emission points across Europe. This will enable the first
European full-scale CCS value chain, paving the way for cost reductions and a scale-up of CCS
. Northern Lights could also
act as a reciprocal storage alternative to other CCS projects in Europe, making a European CCS network more robust and
flexible. The Northern Lights PCI includes three projects with ambition to develop storage, in addition to the one in Norway:
Acorn, Ervia and Net Zero Teesside.
Northern Lights can rapidly move into execution, delivering jobs, growth and emission
reductions across Europe
Cross-border collaboration is one of the strongest assets of Northern Lights. Given positive investment decisions, the value
chain could be operational in 2024, establishing an ‘open source’ network for transport and storage of CO2, protecting and
creating jobs while capturing emissions. As it will be shown in the next section, the Northern Lights PCI is maturing several
projects in many industries across Europe. The project is also in dialogue with around 15 additional European companies in
different sectors and countries that also are exploring the option of having their CO2 stored.
6 Hydrogen Roadmap Europe: A sustainable pathway for the European Energy Transition. FCH JU Report 2019. Accessible here.
CCS projects to kick-start European industrial
This section demonstrates how the Northern Lights PCI can contribute to Europe’s economic recovery and accelerate the
just transition to a net-zero future economy. It provides best available estimates of the effects that can arise from positive
investment decisions in these CCS projects in the form of climate mitigation, timing of project phases, and job creation in
each of the phases.
Climate mitigation and job creation potential
As can be observed in the table on the next page, most of the projects are estimated to create around 1200 – 1500 full-
time equivalents (FTEs) in total each over a 3-4 years period during the most job-intensive phase,
the detailed engineering
and construction phase. The Ervia power/industrial cluster projects in Ireland may possibly create as much as 3500 FTEs
jobs and the Net Zero Teesside cluster in England around 5500. This in turn will create new permanent jobs ranging from
50 to 350 in each of the CCS operations
. The analysis shows that the transport and storage solution project, and the two
most mature CO2 capture projects within the Northern Lights PCI network, Fortum Oslo Varme and Heidelberg Cement
Norcem, are ready to move into the job-intensive detailed engineering and construction phase which follows immediately
after positive investment decisions, which then would enable the start of operations as soon as 2024.
Crucially, the analysis demonstrates that there is a wave of CO2 capture projects in several European countries and several
sectors which are being matured to start detailed engineering and construction in 2022 – 2025, thereby becoming ready to
start operations in 2025-28. These projects can provide considerable climate mitigation effects with annual CO2 emission
reductions ranging between 500 – 6000 kilotonnes of CO2 per annum
. Several of the projects plan to capture CO2 of
biogenic origin, thereby providing negative emissions.
Together, all the projects for which values have been provided, are estimated to be able to provide CO2 reductions of up
to 15 000 kilotonnes per annum, to create around 18 600 full time equivalents (FTEs) jobs in total over the development
period and around 1140 permanent positions when in operation
. The job creation estimates focus solely on the jobs
created in the specific projects. Many of these jobs (e.g. civil engineering) will be local/regional in nature, while others (e.g.
studies and fabrication) will be relevant for the broader European industry.
Seven of the projects plan to be operational already in 2024-25, with the detailed engineering and construction phase
starting about three years earlier, in 2021-22. The other five projects plan to be operational by 2028, also starting the job-
intensive detailed engineering and construction phase about three years earlier, in 2024-25.
Most importantly, these projects enable a successful transformation of existing industrial activity and tens, potentially
hundreds of thousands of jobs into low carbon activity and jobs,
enabling a zero and low-carbon industry.
The estimations of employment creation above do not include the multiple jobs that will be created through the
construction of equipment and technologies, such as those for capture, intermediate storage and ships. Furthermore,
the large number of jobs will also generate consumption effects
, resulting from the employed people's and companies’
consumption, payment of taxes, etc. These are not estimated in the table above.
In case there are any Competition Law
concerns, costs and the levels of public support required are not included here. Such estimates are, however, being
developed by the individual projects and can be communicated separately.
As can be seen in the PCI map on the previous page, there are also a few additional projects in the Northern Lights CCS PCI
that are not presented here. Some of these are being developed with timelines that are equally ambitious as the ones
presented and can be communicated by the individual projects.
Some of the projects being developed within the Northern Lights CCS network and PCI
Reciprocal Storage /
CO2 capture projects
Fossil & process
Direct CCS Jobs
Table 1: Some CO2 capture projects being developed within the Northern Lights CCS network and PCI. The estimates have been made by the companies that are developing the specific projects.
“FTEs” is Full Time Equivalents, showing the total number of FTEs over the period in question. CO2 emissions are measured in kilotonnes per annum (ktpa). “Biogenic” is CO2 emissions resulting
from combustion of biomass. The table does not include all the CO2 capture projects that are being developed within the Northern Lights CCS network and PCI.
EU policy can support and incentivise the development of cross-border CO2 transport
and storage networks in Europe, including Northern Lights. Financial support and
grants will be key to achieving early deployment of the CCS value chain in Europe.Ensuring that CCS projects in Europe are eligible for EU and national public support
and funding schemes should therefore be an important element in the Commission’s
approach to promoting economic recovery.
In addition to financial support, regulatory frameworks such as the Energy System
Integration, EU ETS, and the TEN-E Regulation will provide opportunities to develop the
CCUS value chain in Europe. Under TEN-E, CO2 storage should be integrated into
overall European infrastructure development and permitting procedures. Additional
methods of CO2 transport, such as by ship, should be recognised in key EU legislation
like the EU ETS and TEN-E, in order to facilitate a greater range of CO2 transport
solutions in Europe.
By creating a cross-border network of open-access CO2 transport
and storage infrastructure, EU industrial plants and clusters can connect their CO2
emissions to shared infrastructure – and this common approach should be supported.
Supporting CCS now will not only stimulate new infrastructure projects and jobs, it will
also help to develop a more optimised energy and industry system, with shared CO2
transport and storage infrastructure connecting different industrial facilities and
processes, all while making significant cuts to European CO2 emissions and helping to
deliver on the Green Deal objectives.
The Northern Lights PCI looks forward to working with EU and national policymakers
to make this vision a reality.