ABB control systems help capture 12 million tons of carbon dioxide

2010-04-07 - ABB process control systems have successfully managed the world’s first large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility since 1996. To date nearly 12 million tons of carbon dioxide have been captured and safely stored 1,000 meters below the seafloor. More than half of the world’s large-scale CCS facilities are now controlled by ABB technology.
By ABB Communications

Although there are several small-scale CCS projects in the world today, often using different proprietary technologies and operating on a pilot basis, there are only four facilities that capture and store carbon dioxide on a large, commercial scale for climate change reasons.

ABB distributed control systems monitor and control the entire production, safety and CCS processes at three Statoil offshore and onshore facilities in Norway
Three of those four facilities are operated by Statoil, the Norwegian-based oil and gas company. And ABB, the world’s leading supplier of distributed control systems for energy-intensive industries like oil and gas, is helping Statoil monitor and control the complex process of capturing and safely storing the carbon dioxide at these facilities.

It was Statoil who developed the world’s first large-scale CCS process in 1996 at the Sleipner oil and gas field in the North Sea. The gas recovered at Sleipner contains 9 percent carbon dioxide, which exceeds the market requirement of 2.5 percent. If emitted the captured carbon dioxide would have given rise to a cost of nearly $60 per ton in carbon taxes and emission quota purchases.

By stripping the carbon dioxide from the natural gas, compressing it and injecting it into a storage reservoir 1,000 meters beneath the seafloor, Statoil is able to meet the market specifications, significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and avoid a considerable cost.

About one million tons of carbon dioxide are captured and stored at Sleipner each year. This amounts to around 12 million tons in all since 1996 – a huge benefit for the environment and a pointer to how global carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced and managed in the coming years.


The Sleipner gas treatment platform (left) linked by bridge to the Sleipner A platform. A second production platform, Sleipner B, is located about 20 kilometers from Sleipmer A. ABB supplied a complete distributed control solution for all three platforms at Sleipner, including the subsea and wellhead control systems, integrated safety, shutdown and fire and gas protection systems, and the carbon capture and storage process

Following the success of its CCS project at Sleipner and a second facility in Algeria, Statoil opened a third large-scale CCS process at the Snøhvit gas field in the Barents Sea in 2008. There, natural gas with a carbon dioxide content of between five and eight percent is piped 143 kilometers to an onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the island of Melkøya.

The excess carbon dioxide is stripped at Melkøya and piped 153 km offshore, where it is injected into a saline aquifer 2,800 meters below the seafloor. The process was started in 2008. It captures and stores up to 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Statoil’s latest CCS project is the European carbon dioxide Technology Centre at Mongstad in Norway, which is under construction and which Statoil owns along with Shell and Gassnova. The intention is to develop carbon capture technologies and further reduce the cost and risks associated with large-scale capture and storage. The Technology Centre at Mongstad is the largest planned pilot project of its kind, with an annual capacity for handling up to 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The centre is scheduled to start operation in late 2011/early 2012.

ABB is the world’s leading supplier of process control systems for the oil and gas industry


ABB’s involvement in all three projects – Sleipner, Snøhvit-Melkøya and Mongstad - is comprehensive. ABB automation systems monitor and control all three sites, using their uniquely integrative capability to control not only the complex carbon capture process but the entire production processes as well.

At Sleipner, an ABB integrated distributed control solution manages all subsea and topside operations including the subsea and wellhead control systems, the safety, shutdown and fire and gas protection systems, and the carbon capture and storage process.

At Snøhvit-Melkøya, ABB automation systems control the offshore gas field, pipelines, LNG plant and carbon capture plant, as well as the safety, electrical control and power management systems for the onshore facilities.

And at Mongstad ABB is supplying the complete electrical and automation scope for the entire carbon dioxide technology center.

ABB has a long and close working relationship with Statoil and has developed numerous leading-edge power and automation solutions for Statoil’s operations. They include the world’s first offshore platform to be powered by electricity transported from the onshore grid.

Click on the link below to see a short Statoil movie on Mongstad.

Statoil movie



(Images courtesy Statoil)