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07 May 2024

The English Channel has been opened up for carbon storage by the UK

Amy Power
The English Channel has been opened up for carbon storage by the UK

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has put an invitation out for applications for an out of round Co2 storage license in saline aquifers, off the Isle of Wight.

This has been done due to the UK’s aim to capitalise on their advantage of having the biggest carbon dioxide storage potential within Europe. To meet this goal, it has been made clear that the UK must work quickly in order to develop carbon dioxide stores throughout territorial waters. Despite already having a lot of potential storage spaces within the North Sea, it has been suggested that the English Channel could have the ability to store a capacity of more than 1GT of carbon dioxide. This would mean that the English Channel could be capable of storing emissions from more than two-hundred million cars driven in one year.

The utilisation of this space is also essential in order to industrial emitters to decarbonise, as it is these companies which struggle to transport carbon dioxide to areas of storage, such as the North and East Irish seas. This is what will cause the largest issue for the economy. Providing them with a closer area will create a solution to this issue and will help the UK achieve its decarbonisation goals.

So far, twenty-seven carbon licences have been awarded and four industrial scale carbon storage projects are under development. There are also multiple plans for other projects to follow this movement. The projects which have been developed include, the Acorn project at St Fergus in the North of Scotland, Hynet NorthWest on Merseyside, the Northern Endurance Partnership on Teesside and Viking CCS on Humberside. Other permits for first injections of carbon dioxide will be issued later on this year.

Leading trade body Offshore Energies UK, says, ‘a new carbon storage license being offered in the English Channel is an innovative way to store greenhouse gas emissions from industrial emitters on the South Coast.’

OEUK’s policy and sustainability director, Michael Tholen, commented, “Today’s announcement is an important step for the UK’s carbon capture and storage sector, which now needs to be matched by a clear policy environment to provide certainty to investors. For example, although the announcement of £20bn of government support for CCS is welcome, industry needs clarity about the specific timelines for the deployment of the funding. Equally, CO2 emitters need a clear route to market in the form of a regular competitive allocation process and a framework to enable non-pipeline transportation of CO2 needs to be developed. The UK’s oil and gas supply chain has highly transferable capabilities to deliver CCS that are essential to make this project a success. A supply chain report commissioned by OEUK shows that around 80% of UK CCS expenditure is targetable by the existing oil and gas supply chain and the targetable UK CCS supply chain market is expected to be worth £2.6 billion in 2040.”

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