Carbon capture and storage

The UK Wants Its First Two Carbon Capture Projects Up and Running by Mid-Decade

Backed by Eni and BP, the two projects have been selected by the UK government to kick-start the country's effort to decarbonize industrial emissions.

Source: Getty Images

The UK government said on Tuesday it is prioritizing the development of two large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in a bid to have them up and running by mid-decade. The UK currently has no CCS projects but has set a goal to reach an annual capacity of up to 30 Mt of CO2 by 2030.

The HyNet project in northwest England and northern Wales proposes to capture up to 10 Mt of CO2 per annum by 2030 from industrial sites and a low-carbon hydrogen facility. A pipeline will then route the CO2 to injector wells located 20 mi. offshore Liverpool. The Eni-backed HyNet consortium said its injection target has produced natural gas for more than a quarter of a century which means its depleted sandstone reservoirs have ample storage capacity.

The East Coast Cluster (ECC) will capture its CO2 from the Teesside and Humber industrial regions and send it via subsea pipelines to a saline reservoir located about 55 mi. offshore. This project is being led by the Northern Endurance Partnership, a group formed by several energy companies including BP, Eni, Equinor, Shell, and TotalEnergies.

BP, which will be the operator of the ECC, expects the project will capture half of the UK’s industrial emissions, or up to 27 Mt annually by 2030. The London-based supermajor also said in a release that it expects the ECC to create and support an average of 25,000 jobs per year between 2023 and 2050.

Like the HyNet project, the ECC would also support low-carbon hydrogen production facilities to support transportation and power sectors.

After considering a total of five CCS projects, the government announced its support for HyNet and the ECC while unveiling its wider plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Before they are shovel ready, both projects will have to clear a final negotiating stage at which point they will have access to a newly established £1 billion government fund for CCS infrastructure. If either fail to progress pass the next stage the government has selected a CCS site in Scotland to serve as a backup. The government has also noted that it may need to sanction two additional CCS projects to reach its 2030 goal of 30 Mt of injection capacity.

The announcement also comes just before this month’s 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP26. The summit will bring world leaders and diplomats together in the UK city of Glasgow, Scotland to discuss emissions targets and establish new pledges to combat climate change.