A pioneering carbon capture and storage (CCS) development has kicked off with the first volumes of CO2 being injected into a depleted Danish North Sea oil reservoir.

The partners in Project Greensand, which is led by European chemicals giant Ineos working alongside around 20 other partners, marked the groundbreaking event on Thursday at Esbjerg in Denmark, at which the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen gave an online address.

A short video shows the 4,065-dwt offshore supply vessel Aurora Storm (built 2015) being loaded with liquid CO2 held in ISO containers in the Port of Antwerp. These volumes had been captured at an Ineos site in Belgium.

The vessel shipped the containerised CO2 to the Nini West oil platform 200 km off the west coast of Denmark.

Here the containers are offloaded and the CO2 is injected into the sandstone reservoir 1,800 metres below the seabed.

In time, the project intends to graduate to use LCO2 carriers to ship in larger volumes.

Belgium and Denmark cemented their deal — thought to be a world first — on the cross-border export of CO2 in October last year.

Cross-border agreements on CO2 are significant to the development of the CCS industry. Currently, under European Union regulations, CO2 is classed as a waste product and cannot be exported to other countries.

This demonstration period for Project Greensand will allow around 15,000 tonnes of CO2 from Ineos’ plant by early April.

During an initial phase that will run until 2025 to 2026, the project will have capacity to store up to 1.5 million tonnes per annum of CO2.

From 2030, the project partners plan to expand its operations to allow for 8 mtpa of CO2 storage.

Danish Shipping said the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland have estimated that the total underground storage potential is between 12 and 22 billion tonnes of CO2, which is between 400 and 700 times more than Denmark’s total of CO2 emissions at the current level.

Von der Leyen told attendees at the launch: “This is a big moment for Europe’s green transition, and for our clean tech industry. The first-ever full value chain, for carbon capture and storage in Europe. You are showing that it can be done.”

She implied that German CO2 volumes would soon be added to Project Greensand’s storage mix.