France-Norway: towards greater cooperation on green industry
To forge new economic and industrial partnerships, Roland Lescure, French Minister for Industry, met his Norwegian counterpart Jan Christian Vestre during a visit at the end of October.
During the visit, the two countries announced their intention to launch a strategic partnership on green industry, with a particular focus on carbon sequestration technologies and battery manufacturing and recycling.
Norway, leader in carbon sequestration
Thanks to the development of the Northern Lights site, which was the focus of Minister Lescure's visit, Norway aims to become a key player for European industries eager to store the carbon they emit. The aim of the site is to receive carbon from European plants in liquid form and inject it into geological reservoirs located 2,500 meters below the surface of the North Sea. Norway, which has been experimenting with this technology since 1996, is now Europe's leading country in this field.
This summer, France presented a strategy to halve national carbon emissions by 2030. During his visit, Minister Lescure stated that "decarbonizing the economy requires an industrial revolution and massive deployment of carbon-neutral technologies". Minister Jan Christian Vestre said he was "impressed by the French government's ambitious plan for green industry".
Carbon sequestration in France,
In France, deployment of this technology is still in its infancy. Indeed, there are currently no initiatives to develop CCS in France. This is why some industrial sites in northern France have already positioned themselves to be able to export their carbon to Norway from 2026.
However, one major obstacle remains to be overcome: the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution, adopted in 1972, which prohibits the interstate transport of CO2. The meeting was therefore also an opportunity to discuss an amendment to this convention, so that international CCS projects can become a reality. However, the French Ministry of Industry assures us that the French doctrine on CCS does not aim to give industrialists a license to pollute, but rather to target the incompressible emissions of the most polluting industries, such as chemicals and cement.
French and Norwegian representatives, as well as industrialists from both countries, will meet again in January for the second edition of the Franco-Norwegian forum on green industry to extend their discussions.