Teesside's drive to help the UK reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 has taken a sizeable step forward with the award of two carbon storage licences in the North Sea.  

  The North Sea Transition Authority has awarded the licences to bp and Equinor with an appraisal term of eight years to show progress achieving milestones, such as performing seismic surveys of the four proposed storage sites and drilling wells to acquire data before applying for a storage permit.  

Read more: BP plans Teesside jobs boost at powerplant and hydrogen projects

  The four separate storage sites are located around 43 miles off the coast of Humberside. Combined with the existing licence granted for the Endurance carbon store, they could eventually contribute to the storage of up to 23 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of CO2 around 1,400 m beneath the seabed. The government’s target for Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage is to reach 20-30 mtpa by 2030, and over 50 mtpa by 2035.

  Andy Lane, Northern Endurance Partnership Managing Director, said: “The North Sea Transition Authority’s decision to grant bp and Equinor carbon storage licences is great news for the Humber, Teesside and the East Coast Cluster, which represents almost 50% of the UK’s industrial cluster CO2 emissions.  

  “This is another important milestone for the East Coast Cluster which will capture and safely store CO2 emissions from a wide range of industrial and power projects, protect and create thousands of jobs and help establish the Teesside and Humber regions as a globally-competitive climate-friendly hub for industry and innovation.” 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: “This is yet another welcome next step for the East Coast Cluster, which will play a key part in delivering Net Zero Teesside Power’s gas-fired power plant with CCUS capabilities in Teesside and, ultimately, a pioneering UK-first decarbonised industrial cluster.

“Not only is this pioneering project vital if we are to meet our net zero ambitions, but it will also create thousands of good-quality, well paid jobs for local workers in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of tomorrow.”

    Grete Tveit, Senior Vice President for Low Carbon Solutions, Equinor, said:  “This is a major milestone for the East Coast Cluster project which will make a tangible impact in the UK’s climate change ambitions.  

  “Delivered with our partners in the Humber, Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership, the East Coast Cluster will establish the UK as a leader in the energy transition.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: “Carbon capture provides a key opportunity for the future of the North Sea, as well as UK industries. We are determined to make the UK a world-leader in this developing market and these licences represent an important contribution to making that a reality.”

  Current project estimates indicate that earliest injection from a CS project could come as soon as 2025 given the progress already seen in the HyNet, Northern Endurance Partnership’s East Coast Cluster and V Net Zero Humber Cluster projects.   

  Scott Robertson, NSTA Director of Operations, said:  “The NSTA is pleased to award these licences which have the potential to make a significant contribution towards the government’s net zero target.

 “Carbon storage and low carbon gas production, alongside growth in hydrogen and renewable energy, are all key elements of the energy transition and a crucial part in tackling the climate emergency.

"But we know that time is short and real action must be taken rapidly, so we will work closely with bp and Equinor to ensure that milestones on this project are met, as we do with other projects across the North Sea.”


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