New joint venture

Microsoft invests in Norwegian carboncapture, joins forces with Equinor

Microsoft and Equinor set to collaborate with Norcem

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix
Norcem, Norway’s only cement factory in Brevik.


Microsoft will collaborate with Equinor in a CO2 storage effort under the North Sea. It will be an important component of the company’s strategy to become climate-negative by 2030. 

On Oct. 14, Equinor signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft for the collaboration, which is called the Northern Lights Project.

The project is part of the Norwegian carbon sequestration and storage project called “Langskip,” or “Longship.” The plan is to capture CO2 from Norcem’s cement factory at Brevik in the Porsgrunn municipality. From there, liquid CO2 will be shipped by sea to a receiving terminal in Øygarden to then be pumped by pipeline to a storage tank under the sea floor on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The project is a cooperation between Equinor, Shell, and Total.

Carbon-negative goal

Microsoft has set a goal to become carbon-negative by 2030. The company is therefore exploring several possibilities to help reach this goal, including the Northern Lights project in Norway, according to a press release.

“Microsoft is excited about and committed to supporting promising carbon capture approaches. Our goal is not only to contribute our technology and know-how, but explore how new solutions like the Northern Lights project can help us meet our own carbon-negative goals by 2030,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft.

“One of the world’s imperatives is the need to develop new ways to capture, transport, and permanently store carbon. This will require enormous investment and innovation, including a huge amount of computing power and data,” Smith said.

Norway as a spearhead

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru were present when the agreement was signed in Oslo on Oct. 14.

“Langskip is the largest climate project ever in Norwegian industry and a large and important technology project. Today’s signing shows the broad engagement in industry for CO2-treatment,” said Solberg.

The Bellona Foundation, a Norwegian non-profit organization seeking climate solutions, applauded the news. “This is great. First, the government in Norway decides to lead the world in CO2-sequestration and storage by launching the Langskip project. Then comes a globally leading company, Microsoft, which wants to get on board for the trip,” said Bellona founder Frederic Hauge.

“Norway should be the spearhead in a coalition of nations, industrial actors, and investors who wish to incorporate CO2 capture and storage technology right away,” said Hauge. “The Storting must ensure that the Norwegian Langskip project gets the greatest possible value as an exhibit to the world,” he said.

(Translated by Andy Meyer)

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 23, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway