Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is to open the long-awaited Mongstad CO2 test centre, Monday.
The facility will be part of the Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), designed to research the capturing and purifying of CO2 from refineries and thermal power plants. Mongstad’s new test centre is aimed at discovering the best and cheapest way to cleanse captured CO2.
In his 2007 New Years Day speech, the Prime Minister said that Norway should be pioneers for cleansing greenhouse gases, and the TCM is part of his so-called “moon landing”.
Today’s opening comes following much discussion surrounding Mongstad’s future viability. The issue has seen allegations of one minister deliberately withholding information from Parliament about progressing regarding a full-scale facility.
Former Christian Democrat (KrF) PM Kjell Magne Bondevik’s centre coalition government was bought down over the Mongstad affair in 2005.
He resigned because KrF could not accept having a plant without CO2 capture technology, and was replaced by current Labour (Ap) Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg.
It has also been reported Norway is behind the EU in the CCS (carbon capture and storage) race, and huge financial losses by Mongstad oil refinery owner Statoil could mean the refinery’s closure.
The plant’s value was written-down in the third quarter of 2011 by 3.1 billion kroner. Mongstad oil refinery deficits also totalled 9.2 billion kroner in 2009 and 2010.
Meanwhile, according to a Ministry of Petroleum and Energy statement, the TCM will test CO2 capture “on two types of flue gases using two different capture technologies.”
“One source of flue gas is the existing catalytic cracker facility at the Mongstad Refinery, and the other source of flue gas is the gas fired combined heat and power plant (CHP).”
The test centre’s construction cost 5.9 billion kroner and researchers will be able to share their discoveries with others working in the field.
“We have recently sent out an invitation to those who work with CO2 capture technology, saying that they can use the facility”, Tore Amundsen from TCM told Aftenposten.
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe will also be present at today’s opening, which comes just under two weeks since the government released its climate white paper.
To read all of The Foreigner’s articles containing news about Mongstad, click here.
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