With various political agreements on CCS, CO2 storage is now permitted in Denmark, provided the storage is appropriate from a safety and environmental perspective.
The Danish Energy Agency is responsible for tendering procedures for the award of permits for exploration and storage of CO2 in the Danish subsoil. The Danish Energy Agency also regularly holds consultation meetings with citizens, industry, local government and other authorities as new potential CO2 storage sites undergo environmental assessment.
The Danish state is a co-owner of CO2 storage permits in Denmark through the public fund: Nordsøfonden. The Danish subsoil is a shared resource, and, as a co-owner of exploration and CO2 storage permits, the state is guaranteed insight and influence regarding subsoil activities. At the same time, state co-ownership ensures that society as a whole benefits from CO2 storage.
Permits for geological storage of CO2 can be applied for pursuant to Section 23 of the Danish Subsoil Act. The planning area for the first CO2 storage site in the North Sea was adopted in 2022, and the first tendering round opened on 15 August 2022. Prior to the tendering round, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was performed to ensure storage is environmentally sound. Subsequent storage projects, including collection of new seismic data and drilling operations, will also be subject to an individual SEA. The storage site being tendered is situated in the north-western part of the North Sea on the Danish continental shelf 6° 15' E and 56° 00' N.
Map: Location of planning area for CO2 storage
Web-accessible alternative to the map: Location of planning area for CO2 storage
The map shows the Danish sector of the North Sea and the CO2 storage planning area initially being tendered in the north-eastern part. The planning area is situated at 6 degrees 15 minutes east longitude and 56 degrees 00 minutes north latitude. The site is bordered to the west and to the northeast, respectively, by two marine protected areas (nature and environmental protection). The map also shows oil/gas licence areas, some of which overlap with the planning area.
The Danish Energy Agency launched the first tendering round for the award of permits for storage of CO2 in the Danish subsoil in the North Sea on 15 August 2022. The application deadline was 1 October 2022.
Award of permits is conditional upon the applicant having the required technical and financial capacity to operate geological storage of CO2 in accordance with the Danish Subsoil Act.
The permits will include a condition that Nordsøfonden participate in the permit with a 20% share on behalf of the state. The specific terms and conditions for the tendering procedure and the documentation requirements for applications are in the invitation to tender and associated annexes, see below. These documents also describe the underlying strategic environmental assessment.
The Danish Energy Agency received two applications in the first tendering round for permits for storage of CO2 in the Danish subsoil in the North Sea. The applications came from TotalEnergies EP Denmark A/S and a consortium consisting of INEOS E&P and Wintershall Dea International, respectively. Both applications met the requirements and TotalEnergies was awarded two permits, while the INEOS & Wintershall consortium was awarded one permit.
Nordsøfonden will represent the state with a share of 20% in all three permits.
Map of planning area for CO2 storage, marine protected areas as well as the permits C2023/01, C2023/02 and C2023/03.
Web-accessible alternative map of planning area for CO2 storage, marine protected areas as well as the permits C2023/01, C2023/02 and C2023/03.
The map shows the areas in the Danish part of the North Sea covered by the three permits awarded in the tendering round. The sites are located within the planning area for CO2 storage and outside the marine protected areas. The INEOS-Wintershall consortium's permit covers depleted oil and gas fields in the Siri Canyon area and is located to the north inside the planning area. The two permits awarded to TotalEnergies cover the depleted oil and gas fields in the Harald area, which is located south of INEOS-Wintershall's permit, as well as a new, unexplored area with saline formations (porous sandy layers with brine) located in a south-westerly area of the planning area.
The time horizon and the ultimate design of CO2 storage facilities depend on upcoming exploration and surveying.
- Work programme for exploration and CO2 storage permit C2023/01
- Work programme for exploration and CO2 storage permit C2023/02
- Work programme for exploration and CO2 storage permit C2023/03
The specific storage projects must be approved by the Danish Energy Agency before they are commenced.
Work to prepare for geological storage of CO2 in the Danish subsoil in onshore and nearshore areas has commenced. The preparatory work includes strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) and seismic surveys of the areas. The Danish Energy Agency has also held a series of public meetings, and GEUS holds public meetings in connection with their surveys of the subsoil.
Map of the eight areas covered by the planned invitation to tender: Stenlille, Havnsø, Rødby, Gassum, Thorning, Jammerbugt, Lisa and Inez
Web-accessible alternative to map of the eight areas covered by the planned invitation to tender: Stenlille, Havnsø, Rødby, Gassum, Thorning, Jammerbugt, Lisa and Inez
Map of the eight areas designated for environmental assessment of the planned tendering of onshore and nearshore CO2 storage. Of the eight sites, the Inez, Lisa and Jammerbugt formations are located in the offshore area east of Northern Jutland; the Havnsø formation is located onshore and in the offshore area near the town of Havnsø in western Zealand; and the Stenlille and Rødby formations are located onshore near the towns of Stenlille and Rødby, respectively. The Thorning and Gassum formations in Jutland are located south of the city of Viborg and south of Mariager Fjord, respectively.
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the planned tendering of onshore and nearshore CO2 storage
In Autumn 2023, the Danish Energy Agency together with an advisory firm initiated the work on the strategic environmental assessments related to onshore and nearshore CO2 storage and have conducted a public consultation round and a series of public meetings in relation to this.
The Danish Energy Agency has now examined and strategically assessed eight onshore and nearshore areas where the conditions are suitable for CO2 storage in the subsoil. The study has resulted in two SEA reports, which have undergone public consultation from May 31, 2023, to August 9, 2023.
Draft report on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the executive order on pilot and demonstration projects for CO2 storage under 100 kton and no longer than 2 years, within the designated onshore and nearshore areas (Danish)
Umweltbericht zur umweltprüfung der verordnung über pilot- und demonstrationsprojekte (Deutsch)
Proposal for SEA scoping in relation to the planned tendering of onshore and nearshore areas for geological CO2 storage
A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) refers to environmental assessments of overarching plans and programmes, while an environmental impact assessment (EIA) refers to a detailed environmental assessment of specific construction projects.
The process for onshore storage projects
The Danish Energy Agency and GEUS are cooperating with relevant municipalities on preliminary surveying of the designated areas. Although the areas have been designated for surveys assuming they have the right geological conditions for storage, there is no guarantee they turn out to be suitable for storage or that they will be included in an upcoming tendering procedure. The strategic environmental assessment may also identify potential significant negative environmental impacts in certain areas.
If it is deemed suitable from a geological, safety and environmental perspective to invite tenders for exploration and storage of CO2, a storage operator will initially be able to apply for an exploration permit within a limited area.
If a storage operator applying for a permit can demonstrate that it has the required technical and financial capacity and has put together a realistic and thorough work programme, it can be awarded a permit to investigate the suitability of the subsoil for storing CO2. If the storage operator is certain about the storage potential of the subsoil, and has a concrete project in place, it can apply for a permit to store CO2 within the site.
If an operator is awarded a CO2 storage permit, it will also have to obtain approval of a storage facility in the local development plan, as well as go through environmental assessment at project level. This will require additional case processing by the Danish Energy Agency, the relevant municipality and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Public meetings in Holeby, Havnsø, Viborg and Hanstholm - 3rd week of November 2022
In the 3rd week of November 2022, the Danish Energy Agency toured Denmark to present plans to designate sites for onshore and nearshore underground storage of CO2.
The plans must undergo environmental assessment, and the Danish Energy Agency therefore asked the public for ideas and topic proposals for the environmental assessment.
Four public meetings in Holeby, Havnsø, Viborg and Hanstholm, respectively, were joined by a total of 210 participants, either in person or online.
The Danish Energy Agency received many valuable inputs, ideas and questions, all of which will be considered.
CO2 storage is currently only permitted within a planning area in the North Sea. The planned tendering procedure and the Executive Order on pilot and demonstration projects within this area underwent environmental assessment pursuant to Section 8 of the Environmental Assessment Act and current requirements for environmental assessment of plans and programmes.
The strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) of the plan and the Executive Order were put out for public consultation in spring 2022.
Environmental report, summarised statement and consultation memorandum for both SEAs
Consultation memorandum and summarised statement for the environmental report on the Executive Order on pilot and demonstration projects for geological storage of less than 100 kilotonnes CO2 in the western-most part of the North Sea
Consultation memorandum and summarised statement on the planned tendering of pilot and demonstration projects in the North Sea for the purpose of injection and geological storage of CO2 in the subsoil
A plan for onshore and nearshore geological CO2 storage is under preparation. The plan and the associated Executive Order on pilot and demonstration projects will also have to undergo strategic environmental assessment (SEA)