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The Longyearbyen CO2 lab

Brief description:


Contact info:


Main developer: The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS)

Present partners in Longyearbyen CO2 Lab

ConocoPhillips, Statoil, Store Norske, Statkraft, Gassnova (Norwegian government), Lundin Norway and Leonhard Nilsen.

Present research and operational partners

Univ. of Bergen, Univ. of Oslo, NTNU, SINTEF, NORSAR, IFE, NGI, NGU, Add Energy and BJ Services.




Persons involved in the project:

Gustav Amund Amundsen


Country: Norway

Project type: Storage

Scale: Small

Status: Identified

Year of operation 2025
Industry: Coal Power Plant

New or retrofit: Retrofit
Transport of CO2 by: none

Type of storage: Not decided


The Longyearbyen CO2 lab is managed by the university centre in Svalbard (UNIS). The vision is to make Longyearbyen CO2 neutral by capture and store the CO2 from the local coal fired power plant. This has the potential of turning Longyearbyen into a show case site, that take care of the emission trough the whole CO2 chain.

The project has established knowledge about available storage sites by several tests carried out from 2007 -2010. 

The project is divided into four phases:



Phase 1: Identify the reservoir (2007-2009):

Identify a suitable CO2 storage site near, Longyearbyen. The activities included the drilling of four wells outside Longyearbyen and regional and local seismic assessments of the reservoir level. The first two wells were drilled in the autumn 2007 near the Longyearbyen airport. one more well was drilled 5 km from Longyearbyen, in the Advent valley approximately one year after. The first two wells was 860 m deep and reached the core of the saline aquifer while the third was 403 m and investigated the cap rocks.A common challenge for the first three wells was the well bore stability. Problems encountered in a fault zone at 380-480 meters depth.

A even deeper well was drilled in the summer 2009. This well was approximately 970 m deep and cored the cap rock and reservoir. This well would be preserved as a permanent well for testing injection capacity in Phase 2.

Phase 2: Injectivity tests (2010 - 2012)

Verify the injectivity and storage abilities of the reservoir and predict the overall geometry and size. The first test was carried out using water with tracers. The tests are ongoing and will be performed over period of two - three years.

In parallel, the project will perform laboratory level CO2 injection, using the core samples from the drill holes, and perform baseline studies regarding marine pockmarks, permafrost and vegetation.

Phase 3: Medium scale CCS (2013 - 2017)

The pilot project will demonstrate and study sub surface CO2 storage, using medium scale CO2 injection and various monitoring wells. The plan is to use CO2 captured from the local coal fuelled power plant.

The reservoir below Longyearbyen will, due to its properties, probably experience drift of the injected CO2. This offers a unique opportunity for studying the behaviour of CO2 in sub surface saline aquifers. New monitoring wells will be drilled for this purpose.

There will be preformed modelling and flow simulations, which will predict flow in the reservoir and substantiate the odds for CO2 leakage.

Phase 4: Full scale CCS (2017 - 2025):

The purpose of the Phase 4 pilot project is to Demonstration of full scale carbon capture at the local coal fuelled power plant. The captured CO2 from the local coal fired power plant will be used as a medium for storage. This completes the Longyearbyen CO2 lab concept.

Long term monitoring of the sub surface developments will also be carried out (5-10 years)

Identification of capture technology will be don when the storage abilities and qualities have been determined. Post combustion capture will probably be the best alternative.



The project has now totaly drilled six verification wells down to the depth of 970m. Water with added tracers has been injected and the results shows that the deepest aquifers had permiability on 40 m D.m.and a underpressure of more than 50 bar. Underpressure of this size is uncomon and wil make injection less complicated.  The more shallow layer has a overpressure of 2 bar and a permeabelity of 1000 mD.m.

These figures confirms that the geology around the power plant is well suited for CO2 storrage. The project now wants to start injections of CO2. The work has started to establish a project where capture of CO2 from the power plant, and injection of this into the geological formations shal be done. Verification of the hole CO2 value chain can then be establiched already in 2015 with injection of aproxematley 7 500 t CO2/year.

Capture and storrage of the hole power plant can be done, but some modifications to meet the requirements towards SO2 and NOx has to be done first.