Major step forward for East Coast Cluster as Equinor and bp handed carbon storage licences
Licence awards means Northern Endurance Partnership has the potential to store up to 1 billion tonnes of CO2 from the East Coast Cluster.
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has awarded Equinor and bp, as joint licensees, two carbon storage (CS) licences in the Southern North Sea.
The licences, which are approximately 70km off the coast of Humberside, contain four separate carbon storage sites at a depth of approximately 1,400m. These storage sites, combined with the existing licence for the Endurance carbon store, have the potential for storing up to 1 billion tonnes of CO2.
The granting of the carbon storage licences is another major milestone for the Northern Endurance Partnership – a joint venture between bp, Equinor, National Grid Ventures, Shell and Total Energies - which will enable the East Coast Cluster by developing the common infrastructure needed to transport CO2 from emitters across the Humber and Teesside to secure offshore storage in the Southern North Sea.
The licences have an appraisal term of eight years, which allows the licensees to apply for a storage permit at any time during the appraisal term.
Grete Tveit, Senior Vice President for Low Carbon Solutions, Equinor, said:
"These awards of carbon storage licences by the North Sea Transition Authority represents an important next step towards the development of what could be a world-leading carbon capture and storage project, as well as establishing the world's first net zero industrial region by 2040. Under its Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, the UK government recognised the important role carbon capture and storage will play to achieve the UK’s climate change ambitions. Together with our partners, we’ll be working closely with the NSTA on delivering this essential infrastructure which is needed to decarbonise the key industrial heartlands in the Humber and Teesside, unlocking opportunities for local communities and making a net zero future a reality.”
Andy Lane, Managing Director of the Northern Endurance Partnership, said:
“The Southern North Sea has some of the most ideal carbon storage sites anywhere in the world, and the award of these licences, in addition to those held already for the Endurance carbon store, means that the East Coast Cluster has the capacity to store up to 1 billion tonnes of CO2. We are aiming for first injection from 2026, and by 2038 will be capturing and storing up to 23 million tonnes of CO2 per year from a wide range of industrial and power projects on Teesside and the Humber. We look forward to working with NSTA on this first-of-a-kind carbon storage project that will create thousands of jobs and help establish the Teesside and Humber regions as a globally-competitive climate-friendly hub for industry and innovation”.
The East Coast Cluster was named as one of the UK’s first CCUS clusters following a successful bid in Phase-1 of the UK Government’s CCUS cluster sequencing process in October 2021. In March 2022, 25 projects within the East Coast Cluster were shortlisted for evaluation within Phase-2 of the cluster sequencing process.
The projects, covering power, industrial carbon capture (ICC) and hydrogen, were adjudged to have met the eligibility criteria. The projects will now be evaluated, with a decision on shortlisted bids that will advance to the negotiation stage expected later in 2022.
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