The SCCS partnership welcomes today’s announcement that the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded its first carbon dioxide (CO₂) appraisal and storage licence to the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage Project in North East Scotland.
This follows Crown Estate Scotland last week issuing its first ever CO₂ lease option to Acorn, underlining the requirement for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects to secure a number of permissions and consents before they can access a CO₂ storage site.
Not only do these recent developments begin to lay the necessary groundwork for a CCUS industry in the UK but they also enable the reuse of oil and gas infrastructure before time runs out due to decommissioning. And this provides a least-cost scenario for delivering the UK’s first CCS projects by the 2020s.
We are delighted the OGA has recognised that CCUS – and Acorn as a pioneer project – can play a key role in the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy and is now taking steps to support the delivery of North Sea CO₂ storage.
The Acorn project is being led by Pale Blue Dot Energy. The CO2 storage site earmarked for use has been identified, with a storage development plan completed, by an international collaboration, including SCCS partner institutes, under the ACT Acorn project. It is also the culmination of many years of research by SCCS and others, which has identified a vast North Sea CO₂ storage asset.
Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:
The recent announcement from OGA heralds a new future for the North Sea. The Acorn site could launch a new multi-billion offshore industry, which progressively and systematically takes the place of oil and gas extraction as fields end production from now to the 2030s. By unlocking access for re-use of existing oil and gas infrastructure, this allows the first CO₂ storage projects to reduce capital costs by 20-50%.
We are now witnessing a resurgence in optimism for the CO₂ storage industry and this comes coupled to the announcement from Crown Estate Scotland last week of their first lease option for the Acorn project to use porespace offshore Scotland for long-term CO₂ storage. There is now a need for the UK Government to maintain the momentum boosted by last week’s international summit on accelerating CCUS to support rapidly emerging CCUS projects around the UK.