China Launches First Commercial CO2 Carriers for Northern Lights Project

Major Milestone Achieved as China Floats Out Vessels to Support Norway’s CO2 Storage Venture

China’s shipbuilding industry celebrates a significant achievement with the launch of the first commercial CO2 carriers, marking a pivotal development for Norway’s Northern Lights project. Launched in 2021, the project, a collaborative effort involving Equinor, Shell, and TotalEnergies, aims to establish commercial CO2 storage beneath the North Sea. The vessels, named Northern Pathfinder and Northern Pioneer, were floated out from Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co., representing a crucial step towards realizing this ambitious endeavor.

Registered in Norway and certified by DNV, these ships, chartered to Japan’s “K Line” (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha), will undergo outfitting and testing before commencing commercial operations later this year. With a cargo capacity of 7,500 cubic meters each and a length of 130 meters, these vessels are specifically designed for the transportation of liquid CO2, equipped with purpose-built pressurized cargo tanks.

Incorporating environmentally-friendly features such as LNG propulsion, wind rotors, and hull air lubrication systems, these vessels prioritize minimal environmental impact during operation. The meticulous planning and execution of their construction are evident, with the first steel cut in November 2022 and keel laying in April 2023. Ordered in October 2021, the vessels were constructed concurrently, measuring approximately 426 feet in length and weighing 8,000 deadweight tons.