Polish state energy giant to invest $1bn in carbon storage

Polish state energy giant Orlen has announced plans to invest $1 billion (4.2 billion zloty) in the firm’s first carbon storage project, which will be implemented in the Norwegian Barents Sea.

The experience gained in the project, which will be carried out in cooperation with Norway’s Horisont Energi, is intended to allow Orlen to develop similar solutions on Poland’s Baltic coast that will help carbon-intensive industries address emissions costs and Orlen itself reach the goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 25% by 2030.

Budujemy nowy obszar biznesowy związany z odbiorem i zarządzaniem przemysłowymi emisjami CO2. Do rozwoju tych usług Grupa ORLEN zamierza wykorzystać doświadczenia zebrane na Morzu Barentsa. Podpisaliśmy porozumienie z Horisont Energi dotyczące potencjalnej współpracy przy jednym… pic.twitter.com/WvJb9NDVeL

— ORLEN (@GrupaORLEN) September 5, 2023

“Efficient and safe storage of carbon dioxide is crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of industries that are exposed to high costs related to emissions,” said Orlen’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, who yesterday signed a letter of intent with Horisont Energi.

“If they want to continue operating in Poland, or more broadly in the European Union, the metal, fertiliser and cement industries must find a way to manage carbon dioxide emissions,” he added.

“The experience we wish to gather off the coast of Norway will also be used in Poland,” noted Obajtek. “It will allow us to effectively implement proven and safe technologies and prepare a competitive offer for Polish industry. In practice, this means lower costs for Polish companies and the preservation of thousands of jobs in Poland.”

Polish state oil giant Orlen is to create nine “hydrogen fuel hubs” in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The facilities will run on renewable energy sources and convert municipal waste as part of the company’s efforts to reach carbon neutrality https://t.co/bbQ09Sa4Eh

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) January 24, 2022

The cooperation with Horisont Energi will give Orlen’s Norwegian subsidiary, PGNiG Upstream Norway, a 50% stake in concessions for the Polaris field in the Barents Sea. The company would also become the field’s operator.

The capacity of Polaris is estimated at 100 million tonnes of CO2, which, according to preliminary estimates, is sufficient to run injection for 12-25 years. PGNiG Upstream Norway plans a detailed analysis of the project, but as of today it is assumed that it will be able to launch the storage service between 2028 and 2029.

The final contract is expected to be signed in October and the investment decision made in 2024, reports the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“We are very pleased to be joining forces with such an experienced and competent team,” said Gabriel Clemens, the chairman of Horisont Energi’s board of directors.

Grupa ORLEN staje się coraz silniejsza na Norweskim Szelfie Kontynentalnym🇳🇴 W wyniku połączenia z Grupą LOTOS i PGNiG, multienergetyczna Grupa ORLEN posiada udziały w 91 koncesjach, co według Wood Mackenzie plasuje nas w TOP5 zestawienia firm prowadzących tam działalność… pic.twitter.com/acX8JzVBJP

— Daniel Obajtek (@DanielObajtek) September 4, 2023

Parallel to the carbon storage project, Orlen is in talks to acquire more natural gas fields off Norway and wants to reach six billion cubic metres (bcm) of annual production there as soon as possible. In 2022, the company produced 3.5 bcm of gas from Norway.

“We recently acquired a 10% stake in a licence in the Norwegian Sea covering the Adriana and Sabina fields. We are also pursuing other acquisition processes, which we will report on,” said Obajtek, quoted by business news service WNP.

“We have a good chance to increase production in Poland and Norway to 12 bcm of gas per year, and I would like to do this before 2030,” he added.

The Baltic Pipe, an idea first conceived in 1991, has finally begun pumping gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark.

The pipeline will bolster both Poland’s security and Europe’s efforts to wean itself off Russian gas, writes @wjakobik https://t.co/VEnKo14e8Q

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) December 5, 2022

Main image credit: Orlen’s press materials

Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.

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