General – Carbon Storage
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) is today (14 June) launching the UK’s first-ever carbon storage licensing round with 13 areas of exciting potential available.
The new carbon storage areas, alongside the six licences which have been issued previously, could have the ability to make a significant contribution towards the aim of storing 20-30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2030.
The areas being offered for licensing are off the coast of Aberdeen, Teesside, Liverpool and Lincolnshire in the Southern North Sea, Central North Sea, Northern North Sea, and East Irish Sea and are made up of a mixture of saline aquifers and depleted oil and gas field storage opportunities.
This round is envisaged to be the first of many as it is estimated that as many as 100 CO2 stores could be required in order to meet the net zero by 2050 target.
The NSTA has launched this carbon storage licensing round in response to unprecedented levels of interest from companies eager to enter the market. The areas on offer have a combination of attributes such as the right geological conditions, proximity to existing infrastructure which may be able to be re-purposed, and links to industrial clusters which are looking to carbon storage to help meet their decarbonisation goals.
In choosing suitable areas to make available for licensing, the NSTA fully considered issues including co-location with offshore wind – whether there are any known challenges and mitigations around existing or future offshore wind developments – environmental issues, potential overlaps with existing or future petroleum licences, and other activities to ensure key technologies can all be taken forward.
The application window is open for 90 days, closing on 13 September, and will be evaluated by the NSTA on technical and financial criteria.
It is expected that any new licences will be awarded in early 2023.