Norwegian energy company Equinor has unveiled a project to build a pipeline to transport CO2 produced by industrial firms in continental Europe for burial offshore Norway.
If it goes forward, the pipeline would be one of the largest carbon capture, transport and storage (CCS) projects in the world.
CCS is looked at by business as a possible solution for CO2-heavy industries as a way for them to continue operating despite increasingly strict measures to reduce emissions to fight climate change.
"The offshore pipeline is planned to have a transport capacity of 20 to 40 million tonnes of CO2 per annum, meeting an emerging need for CCS from multiple European industrial players," Equinor said in a statement.
That is the equivalent of emissions from three to six million individuals in Europe.
Belgian energy infrastructure firm Fluxys will operate a terminal in Zeebrugge, which will collect CO2 from ships docking in the port and factories connected by pipeline.
Construction of additional pipelines to other industrial clients is envisaged.
The CO2 will then be transported via a pipeline under the North Sea operated by Equinor, which will store it permanently under the seabed off Norway.
The project is still in the feasibility stage. Equinor and Fluxys will now work with potential clients and hope to make an investment decision by 2025.
The project has "the potential to enable large-scale decarbonisation of European, carbon intensive industries," said Grete Tveit, Equinor's senior vice president for Low Carbon Solutions.
Equinor is also involved in a project already under way to store offshore CO2 from a Norwegian cement factory and other industrial facilities.
In its latest baseline report, the United Nations said the world will need to capture and store CO2 from the air and oceans regardless of the rate at which countries succeed at reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
Long seen as a marginal effort or an industrial ploy to avoid reducing carbon emissions, carbon dioxide removal measures are now a necessity, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.