Conference-2014-squareThe combined efforts of North Sea states can deliver a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) industry capable of storing hundreds of years' worth of Europe's carbon emissions if the right supportive measures are put in place swiftly, an international gathering of CCS experts will hear today.

The SCCS Annual Conference, which takes place in Edinburgh, will bring together Scottish, UK and EU politicians with representatives from industry, academia and NGOs to discuss the creation of CCS networks in the North Sea. Delegates will debate the policies, technologies and financial mechanisms to realise this ambition, with conclusions to be fed into the EU's ongoing review of CCS policy and regulation.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

We recognise CCS as a critical technology for its potential to play a key role in helping Scotland to achieve its emissions reduction targets and the decarbonisation of our electricity generation sector. We firmly believe that the North Sea's vast CO₂ storage potential; coupled with our existing oil & gas capabilities, ready supply chain and existing infrastructure means that Scotland is in a strong position to be at the centre of CCS development in Europe.

We are very supportive of the Peterhead Gas CCS project and it is very exciting to have the prospect of such a world-leading and innovative project in Scotland. However, we cannot build an industry with one project. We also need follow-on projects to be supported, like the innovative Captain Clean Energy Project proposed for Grangemouth, which could play a major connecting role between our existing onshore and offshore infrastructure, including the opportunity for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) in the Central North Sea, and enable the infrastructure required for future industrial CCS."

Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:

Our conference highlights the huge potential that the North Sea, and Scotland, has for developing CCS networks to help achieve European decarbonisation while fossil fuels remain part of the energy mix, and preserving the economies of major industrial regions. Last month, the world's first commercial-scale CCS project on coal power began operating in Canada. Several other CCS projects in North America are being built. By contrast, the EU has to date failed to deliver any CCS projects. CCS technology is proven, and it is clear that climate mitigation cannot succeed without it. The ideas discussed today will show the EU and Member State governments how CCS can be made a reality – they must now deliver policies that recognise the necessity and urgency of its delivery."

Last week, the EU Council of Member State governments agreed a wide-ranging energy and climate change package, which set a target of at least a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Today's conference will welcome the renewal of funding support for CCS alongside other new low-carbon projects, but will urge the European Commission to ensure that the allocation framework is fit for purpose.

The SCCS Annual Conference, A CCS future for Europe: catalysing North Sea action, takes place today from 9am at the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh. Our media partner for the event is InnovOil.

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