Exploring paths and innovation in Norwegian carbon capture and storage policy

Environmental Policy and Governance, published online 29.05.2023, 12 p. DOI: 10.1002/eet.2068

Norway, a significant petroleum producer and exporter, has been a frontrunner within pol-icies for carbon capture and storage (CCS).As CCS is recognized as a key technology forachieving the Paris climate policy targets,there is a clear need for more knowledge abouthow to design successful projects. Norway's first CCS policy initiative, the ambitious Mon-gstad project, was the result of a political compromise that was imposed from above, basi-cally with one single company in control. Theproject was largely seen as a failure and wasterminated in 2013. However, instead of dropping ambitions for developing CCS projects,the authorities launched a new policy soon afterwards. This policy evolved with the differ-ently organized Longship CCS project as its core. Using a path-dependency perspective,we find that established institutional structures from the Mongstad project, combined withnational interests and expertise, help to explain the fundamental continuity of CCS policiesin Norway. This explanation is supplemented by a policy-learning perspective, which helpsto explain policy changes and differences between the two flagship CCS projects. TheLongship project developed gradually‘from below’; linked project responsibilities close tocompetences and interests; dealt with key risks separately to reduce the inherent com-plexity; and organized clear requirements up front. We hold that this way of designingCCS projects is of relevance to other countriesconsidering CCS projects. Furthermore, byplacing the Norwegian case in context of the development of EU and international climatepolicy we contribute a theoretical framework relevant also for subsequent research.