Drilling has started on the first well of a giant carbon capture and storage (CCS) project off Norway that could help spur the development of a Europe-wide network of ships and pipelines transporting and locking away vast volumes of liquefied CO2 beneath the North Sea floor.

The Northern Lights project – a collaboration between transitioning oil giants Equinor, Shell and Total, with support from the Norwegian government and the country’s CCS facilitator Gassnova – aims to eventually capture and store up to 5 million tonnes of CO2 from heavy-emitters around the EU in a giant saline aquifer south of the Troll offshore oil & gas field.