Enabling CCS Deployment in the UK and Europe

A new report highlights the potential role of a Central North Sea CO₂ storage hub in enabling the successful development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the UK.

Introduction

The report from Scottish Enterprise and SCCS, with input from industry partners, sets out a number of possible scenarios for the future of CCS in the Central North Sea and the potential to develop infrastructure and networks to capture, transport and store CO₂ from across Scotland, the UK and continental Europe.

Experience worldwide, and throughout history in developing new technologies shows that rapid learning and cost-reduction comes from constructing and operating a series of medium-sized projects.

Bigger is not better, as that has the same learning, but for more cost and more scale-up risk. The Central North Sea can produce multiple CCS projects more quickly than anywhere else in the UK. Accessing the Central North Sea is easiest from Scotland, Teesside and Yorkshire. The CNS fulfils the UK’s own needs, and also opens a gateway to Europe, to safeguard high value jobs in the UK and provide long-term taxable revenue."

Professor Stuart Hazeldine OBE
University of Edinburgh, Research Director SCCS

CNS: A unique opportunity

Cheaper costs and faster learning for Carbon Capture & Storage in the Central North Sea CO₂ Storage Hub

By Professor Stuart Haszeldine University of Edinburgh, Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage

The £1 Billion investment by UK Government in accelerating cost reduction for CCS is a never-to-be repeated opportunity. How best to invest, to gain an excellent result for proving of CCS concepts, and also gaining cost reduction for the medium term?

The answer is to ADD value in the Central North Sea, according to a new summary report from Scottish Enterprise. This region combined makes CNS-value-ADD: Affordable, Deliverable, Diverse. The region offers the best range of access options from many UK sites of CO₂ generation, combined with established and flexible transport options, and a range of geologically diverse storage. Diversity and flexibility means security of options, hence low costs and adaptability to future learning.

The report draws on a combination of research to government to business for which Scotland is globally renowned. Scottish Enterprise, with input from industry partners and academics in Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS), sets out scenarios for future North Sea networks to capture, transport and store CO₂ beneath the CNS from across Scotland, the UK and continental Europe.

This Central North Sea Storage Hub can receive and store as much as 100 million tonnes of CO₂ a year by 2030 and 500 million tonnes a year by 2050 – equivalent to 25 per cent of total EU emissions (at 2007 levels).

Key to this are the unrivalled transportation and storage assets. The Central North Sea provides diverse storage options for operators, which are already very well investigated. That enables multiple operators to participate, on multiple projects, at different size scales in series and in parallel. That enables spreading of risk, and retaining flexibility to adapt into lower cost futures. There is also the opportunity to reduce costs immediately, by re-using 100s km of existing subsea pipelines, and suitable offshore platforms, for injection of CO₂ into depleted gas fields. Later, with improved certainty, will come the build of new pipelines to link onshore clusters of power and industry capture plants to validated and guaranteed storage offshore.

By contrast, other parts of the UK are less-ready. These may need to establish that scoping studies of storage can be transferred into commercial quality proven secure storage, may have limited ranges of geological types susceptible to systemic failure, or need to gamble on storage security to build expensive end-to-end new pipes, which will tie in a restricted number of large operators.

The CNS also provides a commercial opportunity to utilise CO₂ in delivering enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for the UK. More than 90% of UK oil lies beneath the CNS and northwards. The near-perfect solvent and re-pressurisation qualities of CO₂ have not been exploited before – because CO₂ has never been available at industrial quantities, for tens of years into the future. With CCS onshore, that is about to change. Producing an additional 10 or 20 per cent of oil from declining fields can extend jobs, improve secure domestic production of low-carbon oil, and can result in billions of additional tax revenue for UK Treasury for the next 30 years.

The CNS can add value in two other ways. It will enable carbon intensive industries to link into the CCS network thus safeguarding jobs but also acting as an incentive for future inward investment.

To improve flexibility of CO₂ transport, Scottish Enterprise has identified Peterhead Port as a deepwater location for shipping transfer. This can receive captured CO₂ from other parts of the UK, and Europe, for onward transportation to the vast storage sites of the Central North Sea. This facility could initially receive 4 million tonnes of CO₂ per year and lead to the creation of over 500 jobs and additional GVA of more than £140million. The port is upgradeable into the future.

Last, but by no means least, CNS provides a pathway to rapid learning and cost reduction into the 2030’s. Development of new industries needs learning cycles, to pass on the lessons learned from first developments to subsequent, more effective, operations. If a few large projects are built early on, then minimal learning is possible. CNS offers the possibility of a series of medium-sized CCS projects, entering the market at low cost with existing infrastructure, and gradually stepping out to exploit the infrastructure and storage possibilities available to diverse operators. That creates serial competition, drives down costs, and retains flexibility.

Press release

Central North Sea CO₂ Storage Hub adds value to Carbon Capture & Storage development

Scottish Enterprise Press Release: 17 Sep 2012 12:31

A new report highlights the potential role of a Central North Sea CO₂ storage hub in enabling the successful development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the UK.

The report from Scottish Enterprise, with input from industry partners, sets out a number of possible scenarios for the future of CCS in the Central North Sea and the potential to develop infrastructure and networks to capture, transport and store CO₂ from across Scotland, the UK and continental Europe.

With the UK Government currently evaluating submissions for its CCS Commercialisation Programme, this document sets out an affordable, deliverable route for CCS deployment with a diversity of options for long term CO₂ storage.

It highlights the potential for a Central North Sea Storage Hub to receive and store as much as 100 million tonnes of CO₂ a year by 2030 and 500 million tonnes a year by 2050 – equivalent to 25 per cent of total EU emissions in 2007 – if all opportunities are effectively exploited.

The study examines the added value of the Central North Sea as a location for CCS – particularly through its affordability, diverse geography and deliverable existing knowledge and capabilities.

This includes the re-use of significant lengths of existing subsea pipelines, offshore platforms for injection to depleted gas fields and the building of new pipelines to link clusters of capture plants in both the power and industrial sectors to the storage assets.

The publication also highlights the potential for Peterhead Port as a key location for the shipment of captured CO₂ from other parts of the UK and Europe, and onward transportation to the vast storage sites of the Central North Sea. It contains new figures which estimate that the development of such an import facility could receive 4 million tonnes of CO₂ per year and lead to the creation of over 500 jobs and additional GVA of more than £140million.

The Scottish Government welcomes this report, which provides further evidence of Scotland’s unique attributes with regards to Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS). CCS technology has the potential to transform the way we generate power and make an important contribution to Scotland’s low carbon future and Scotland is well-placed to take a lead in its development and commercialisation."

Fergus Ewing
Scottish Energy Minister

The offshore geography of the Central North Sea gives us an unique advantage in developing CCS capabilities which has huge potential for the Scottish economy.

This new report highlights the scale of the opportunity of CCS and a Central North Sea hub, and the steps needed to exploit this. Much of the infrastructure and skills to develop CCS is already in place in Scotland thanks to our globally renowned oil & gas sector – and the recently launched Oil & Gas Strategy for Scotland has already highlighted CCS as an area of real significance for our existing supply chain.

The challenge now is to make sure we fully exploit these advantages to develop a reputation for Scotland as a world-leader in this area."

David Rennie
Scottish Enterprise oil and gas, thermal generation and CCS director

It’s important to look at what we get for our public support of CCS funding. Ideally we want low cost projects now, which help us to keep jobs, and we want projects which can extend rapidly whilst reducing difficulties. The Central North Sea offers all of that security, in well-understood and well-supported industries."

Professor Stuart Haszeldine
University of Edinburgh, Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage

Contact

For more information, contact:

Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage
cns@sccs.org.uk
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 0270