Some of the UK’s leading energy companies have joined forces to spearhead the region’s first decarbonised industrial cluster, namely the Net-Zero Teesside project, which promotes the use of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage Technology (CCUS).
BP, Equinor, Eni, Total, and Shell have signed up for the development of the project that aims to capture CO2 emissions produced by heavy industries and store them beneath the North Sea.
BP, Equinor, Eni, Total, and Shell, five of the UK’s energy powerhouses, are on board the consortium along with the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative or OGCI to accelerate the Teesside Project, promoting the net-zero goal of the government by 2050.
The development, formerly known as the Clean Gas Project, will make use of CCUS to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and store them under the North Sea. The group plans to collaborate with the government and domestic stakeholders to launch the project in the middle of this year successfully.
BP is the principal operator of the said project, taking over the £780 million Climate Investment fund from OGCI. This budget will go to fully decarbonise the cluster of carbon-intensive firms in as early as ten years to be on track the government’s legally-binding carbon-negative economy target scheduled for 2050.
The group will start to decarbonise the local industry by establishing a transportation and storage scheme that will collect carbon dioxide from heavy industries, compress it and safely transport and store it in undersea reservoirs.
The site will also have a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) facility and the carbon capture technology to underpin the investment and accompany renewable energy sources within the locale.
The consortium has been agreed upon via Memorandums of Understanding with three other industrial partners.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen stated the project is a representation of Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington’s ambitions to be the leader in clean energy, which would generate nearly £500 million into the regional economy and consequently boost the rest of the UK by £2.3 billion.
The Teesside project is expected to generate around 5,500 jobs that will enable local jobseekers to score good quality, well-paying employment opportunities. Houchen said the project would attract more companies to invest and establish new technologies in the area, thereby aiding the UK’s goal in achieving clean energy on the national scale.
The project is said to capture carbon dioxide emissions of about six million tonnes or more annually, or roughly the equivalent of the annual energy expenditure of two million homes in the UK.
OGCI Climate Investment Chief Executive Pratima Rangarajan declared the Teesside net-zero project shows the body’s commitment to pushing CCUS to global recognition. He said the consortium displays OGCI’s initiative to support emerging hubs and deliver benefits such as employment and savings to the area and the UK.
Researches from Heriot-Watt University has launched the study aiming to locate the best carbon storage sites in the UK, suggesting that the southern North Sea gas fields are suitable for storing greenhouse gas emissions. The area is close to industrial hubs in Teesside, the Thames estuary and Humberside, and also holds depleted gas fields that could become great locations for CCUS.
The research will be mapping out the landscape’s geological features, as well as assessing the area’s carbon storage potential, including the calculation of potential leakages.
The said study has received a funding of £1.4 million from the UK regulator Ofgem, Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), data owners, and offshore operators.
Professor John Underhill stressed the role of CCUS in achieving the net-zero targets in the country. He relayed the proponent’s plans of systemically examining the geology of the chosen sites to investigate the critical factors that would hold the carbon emissions safely over a long period.
Underhill stated the move to study CCUS should be correctly made on a large scale since all credibility could go down the drain if any leakage happens in poorly assessed sites.