Mongstad’s Green Transition is Underway
The green shift at Mongstad is well underway and gaining momentum, says Einar Vaage, Project Manager for Greenspot Mongstad. “Intensive efforts are underway in various companies and on different fronts to transform business and production towards carbon neutrality”.
“Planning and decision-making processes take time and effort, but what’s happening is promising and demonstrates that we are on the right track!» Greenspot Mongstad aims to drive more diversified industry at Mongstad, increase green investments, and promote circular industrial processes.
A Growing Industrial Cluster
«In recent years, the number of companies at Mongstad has increased to over 60, employing a total of 3,000 people. They are located in buildings covering a combined floor area of over 105 acres. Equinor’s refinery remains the largest and central driver of development, while we also have one of Europe’s largest supply bases and the second-largest port in Northern Europe in terms of tonnage shipped in and out. In addition to businesses related to petroleum in various ways, several companies with different business models focused on sustainability are being established.»
Einar Vaage emphasizes that there are unused areas totaling 4,900 acres at Mongstad that are fully zoned for commercial purposes. “This provides us with fantastic opportunities to create an even larger and stronger industrial park. Our local politicians and administrative authorities in the Alver and Austrheim municipalities are knowledgeable and forward-thinking, actively working toward industrial development at Mongstad.»
Working Toward Common Goals
Vaage notes a strong awareness, both politically and among stakeholders at Mongstad, regarding the necessity of taking action to meet national commitments in accordance with the Paris Agreement. “In short, it means that companies with significant emissions must transition, and all new businesses established at Mongstad must capture and store their CO2 emissions.»
Greenspot Mongstad’s project portfolio for decarbonization and industrial transformation is extensive:
Energy Tunnel from the Refinery on the Horizon
Efforts have long been underway to route hot water from the refinery, currently discharged into Fensfjorden, through pipelines to the industrial area. The project, led by landowner Asset Buyout Partners, has an estimated budget of NOK 5 – 600 million and is currently in detailed planning. Bids have been obtained from contractors, and with a final investment decision, construction is targeted to commence in spring 2024.
«The purpose is to provide existing buildings with an alternative heating source to electricity and create the foundation for entirely new businesses. The most likely development is the establishment of a land-based fish farming facility, with an application for a license currently under review by the authorities and the selection of an operator in progress. Other initiatives include a project for biogas production based on fish waste and the production of petroleum products from plastic waste.”
Aspiring to Establish Five Wind Turbines
The green shift requires increased production of renewable energy. For the Mongstad industrial park, producing electricity from wind turbines within the area could enhance competitiveness compared to other industrial clusters. The landowner has therefore designed a project for five turbines with a capacity to produce 8 GWh each. Documentation is currently being submitted to municipalities for review before potential processing of permits by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).
CO2 Capture and Hydrogen Production
The Mongstad refinery represents the largest industrial source of CO2 emissions in Norway, emitting just under 2 million tons annually. At the recent Mongstad Conference, Equinor presented a feasibility study for CO2 capture and the establishment of a hydrogen factory
«I eagerly await Equinor’s assessments regarding CO2 capture and hydrogen production. If these projects materialize, it will be a game-changer for Mongstad. Nevertheless, I believe that TCM, with its expertise in carbon capture and close relationship with Equinor, can play a crucial advisory role in the process,” says Einar Vaage.
Challenging Transformation Process
Greenspot Mongstad’s project leader commends the work TCM has done since its inception in 2012 to test and verify carbon capture technologies. “TCM has facilities and, most importantly, a team that has proved invaluable for the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an industry. It’s heartening to see an increasing number of customers, including the recent agreement with American ION Clean Energy. However, like most other businesses at Mongstad, TCM must undergo significant changes.”
Vaage points out that both the state and industrial owners will expect the company to become financially self-sufficient. “In other words, TCM’s operations must be further streamlined and commercialized, which will be challenging in a market accustomed to subsidized conditions. My wish and hope are that the management succeeds in planning and implementing processes that provide TCM with the financial strength and competitiveness needed to continue being a global leader in carbon capture for many years to come. This will benefit not only TCM but the entire exciting industrial cluster at Mongstad.»