Major energy firms partner on UK CO2 transport and storage infrastructure project

National Grid, Shell, bp, Eni, Equinor and Total have formed a new partnership to develop offshore carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and storage infrastructure in the UK North Sea.

With bp as the operator, the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP) will serve the proposed Net Zero Teesside (NZT) and Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) projects that aim to establish decarbonised industrial clusters in Teesside and Humberside.

NZT and ZCH are at-scale decarbonisation projects that will kick-off decarbonisation of industry and power in two of the UK’s largest industrial clusters. Both projects aim to be commissioned by 2026 with realistic pathways to achieve net-zero as early as 2030 through a combination of carbon capture, hydrogen, and fuel-switching. If successful, NEP linked to NZT and ZCH will allow decarbonisation of nearly 50% of the UK’s industrial emissions.

Drax was the first company in the world to announce an ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology at COP25 in Madrid in 2019.

Drax is a founding member of the ZCH initiative, with Equinor and National Grid. Using BECCS at Drax would underpin the ZCH initiative as other businesses across the region would be able to tap into the same CO2 transportation and storage infrastructure, enabling more industrial emissions to be permanently locked away in the Endurance store, under the North Sea.

Jason Shipstone, chief innovation officer at Drax, said: “Kick-starting the development of the transportation and storage infrastructure required to permanently lock away industrial CO2 emissions moves us closer to achieving Drax’s world-leading ambition to be a carbon-negative company by 2030. It is also critical to the decarbonisation of many other businesses across the North.

“The formation of the NEP is, therefore, a very exciting development, which supports the plans for industrial decarbonisation across Yorkshire and the Humber, protecting jobs and delivering a post-COVID green recovery.”

NEP has submitted a bid for funding through Phase 2 of the UK Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, aiming to accelerate the development of an offshore pipeline network to transport captured CO2 emissions from both NZT and ZCH to offshore geological storage beneath the UK North Sea.

The £170 million (€187 million) Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge forms part of the £4.7 billion (€5.18 billion) Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund set up by the government to address the biggest industrial and societal challenges using R&D based in the UK.

NEP’s application for funding is an important step towards enabling the development of integrated offshore carbon storage for NZT and ZCH in the UK Southern North Sea.

Andy Lane, vice-president of carbon capture and storage (CCUS) solutions at bp, and managing director for Net Zero Teesside, said: “The formation of the NEP is another significant milestone towards developing the offshore infrastructure that will be needed to safely transport and store CO2 from CCUS projects along England’s east coast.

“The partnership and our joint bid demonstrate industry’s willingness to come together and collaborate wherever possible to accelerate making CCUS a reality in the UK, a helping to decarbonise the local economy and contributing to the UK’s climate goals.”

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