Carbon Neutral Baltic Sea Region by 2050: Myth or Reality?
12 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 1, 2021
There is a large theoretical capacity to store CO2 in the Palaeozoic sedimentary succession of the Baltic Basin (BB). The most prospective areas for CO2 storage within the BB border several countries such as Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia, and include large saline aquifers and oil and gas fields. In recent years, a significant amount of research has been completed in fields related to CCUS in some of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) countries.
The main drivers for implementation of CCUS technology in the BSR are (1) a need to decrease the high CO2 emissions of the region; (2) obligations taken under the Paris Climate Agreement and national strategies up to 2050; (3) European requirements for low-carbon and circular economy; (4) the fact that the BSR has a large potential storage capacity; (5) London Protocol (LP) Parties in October 2019 adopted a resolution to allow provisional application of an amendment to article 6 of the LP to allow sub-seabed geological formations for CO2 storage projects to be shared across national borders; (6) offshore CO2 storage is demonstrated under the North Sea; (7) a well developed natural gas pipeline system exists that can be combined with the a potential CO2 transportation network; (8) good research capacity demonstrated by institutions within the BSR; (9) CO2 injection has been already evaluated experimentally for EOR by oil companies in Lithuania and Russia with positive results. The main barriers for implementation of CCS technology in the BSR are: (1) limitations and bans within the national CCS regulations; (2) not all BSR countries are parties of the LP; (3) amendment to Article 6 of the London Protocol is implemented only by four BSR countries; (4) absence of a CO2 storage atlas of the BSR; (5) public communication and acceptance of CO2 storage options are low in most of the BSR countries; (6) relatively high costs of CCS projects; (7) low or absent national support of CCS research and pilot projects; (8) low public awareness and limited education options for CCS; (9) onshore CO2 storage in saline aquifers is not well established in Europe and not permitted in the BSR.
Among positive developments in the BSR are 1) Fortum's plans to develop pilot CO2 capture plants in Sweden, Lithuania and Poland; 2) Willingness has been expressed by the government of Denmark to ratify an amendment to article 6 of the LP and to implement CCS offshore; 3) Several pilot CGS projects have been proposed in the report produced by the CGS Baltic seed project . Among negative developments is a misunderstanding of the role of the EEAP (CO2 tax) in reaching carbon-free targets and banning of any CO2 injection in Lithuania since 2020.
Keywords: Baltic Basin, CCUS, CO2 emissions, CCS Regulations, London Protocol, CO2-EOR
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