20 Carbon Storage Licences have been offered for award in UK's first leasing round.
New sites could store 10% of total annual UK emissions
Successful applications from 12 different companies
First CO2 injection into subsurface stores could come within a decade
The NSTA has awarded 20 carbon storage licences to 12 companies. The licences cover an area of 12,000 square kilometres and are located near Aberdeen, Teesside, Liverpool and Lincolnshire. The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) launched the UK’s first-ever carbon storage licensing round in June 2022, with applications closing in September. The licences are expected to store up to 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year by 2030, which is approximately 10% of the UK's annual emissions.
19 companies had submitted bids and although the official list of successful applicants will not be disclosed until the applicants accept their licences, some applicants have already released statements confirming they have been awarded licences. These include Enquest, Neptune Energy, Spirit Energy, Synergia Energy and Perenco. It has been reported, that Eni, bp and Equinor have also been offered licences but there have not been any official statements to confirm this as yet.
The awards follow the Chancellor's recent Budget announcement that the Government is allocating up to £20 billion in support of developing carbon capture, usage and storage (CCS).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that CCS is essential for the UK to reach its net zero emissions target by 2050, and the IPCC's report in April 2022 said that CCS "has the potential to provide deep emissions reductions in hard-to-abate sectors, such as power, industry and heavy transport".
Stuart Payne, NSTA Chief Executive, said:
“This is an exciting and important day. As a nation, we cannot meet our decarbonisation targets without carbon storage. This is net zero delivery in action.
The awards we offer today could store around 10% of the UK’s emissions, and through our engagement with applicants, we will have committed work plans in place such as seismic surveys and drilling of wells – we are working with industry to move at real pace.
The UK’s offshore waters remain the crown jewel of our energy mix, providing energy security, emissions reduction and carbon storage. This will require more and more integration and collaboration in a crowded space, and we are working closely with governments and agencies such as The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland to ensure we maximise this amazing potential.
We look forward to working with these licensees to make these projects a reality as soon as possible and to opening more carbon storage rounds in the near future – my thanks to our teams and industry for their great work, but this is just the beginning.”