OGA grants carbon storage licence to Harbour Energy
- Net zero drive boosted as fourth licence is awarded
- Project could make a significant contribution to UK’s carbon reduction target
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded a carbon dioxide (CO2) appraisal and storage licence (CS licence) to Harbour Energy, boosting the drive to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The licence will cover an area in the Southern North Sea off the coast of Immingham in North East Lincolnshire. Harbour’s proposal is to reuse the depleted Rotliegend gas fields, Viking and Victor, c140km from the Lincolnshire coast to securely store the CO2 in deep geological formations c.9000ft below seabed, and potentially utilise the Bunter Formation aquifer which could offer additional options to increase the future storage capacity of the project.
The V Net Zero development concept plans to transport CO2 along a newly-constructed pipeline from Immingham to Theddlethorpe, and will reuse the existing 120km LOGGS pipeline to transport the CO2 to the Viking Fields. First injection is targeted for Q4 2026.
Initial injection rates are planned to rise to 3.6 million tonnes per year (Mtpa) which will rise to 11 Mtpa by 2030, the Government’s 10 Point Plan ambition for CCUS (carbon capture, usage and storage) is to reach 10 Mtpa by 2030.
An average car creates approximately 2.06 tonnes of CO2 a year; therefore 11 Mt CO2e per annum would amount to removing 5.3 million cars off the road. For context, in 2019 there were 31.9 million licensed cars in the UK.
The licence requires Harbour to show progress by hitting a number of milestones along the way, including reprocessing legacy 3D seismic data.
The expectation is that the overall project – if it goes into operation – will show that carbon storage activity is ramping up in line with the expectations laid out in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point plan and the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget and that the UK energy transition to net zero is gathering momentum.
It is important that industry meets its targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all operations and Harbour is expected to comply with the OGA Strategy, which makes net zero considerations a central obligation.
Dr Andy Samuel, OGA Chief Executive, said:
“The OGA is very pleased to award this licence for a project that should make a significant contribution towards the net zero target.
“The Energy Integration work that the OGA has been leading shows quite clearly that carbon storage, alongside hydrogen and renewables, can play a crucial part in tackling the climate emergency.
“We know that time is short and real action must be taken rapidly. We will work closely with Harbour to ensure that milestones on this project are met, as we do with other projects across the North Sea.”
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said:
“As set out in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, Carbon Capture Usage and Storage could be crucial in helping the UK to reduce emissions.
“That’s why we are investing £1 billion to help the UK become a world-leader in developing the technology to capture and store harmful carbon emissions. This licence awarded to Harbour Energy is another important contribution in making this a reality.”
Phil Kirk, President and Chief Executive Officer (Europe), Harbour Energy, said:
“The OGA’s decision to grant Harbour Energy a carbon storage licence is great news for the Humber and for the V Net Zero Humber Cluster. It is an essential milestone which comes at an exciting time for the project as we seek to remove more than 50% of existing industrial emissions in the Humber region.
“The V Net Zero Humber Cluster will create and support an average of 6,000 construction jobs between 2024 and 2030 and safeguard over 20,000 regional jobs.
“We look forward to the results of BEIS’s cluster sequencing competition and stand ready to deliver the entirety of Government’s carbon sequestration target by 2030 through the deployment of the V Net Zero Humber Cluster.”
Notes to editors:
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS) refers to a number of techniques and processes which capture carbon dioxide emissions, generally from industrial processes. The CO2 can then be transported, including via repurposed gas pipelines, and stored, for example in underground locations within the rock formations below the UK Continental Shelf.
- Details about Harbour Energy’s projects can be found here.
- The ‘Appraisal Term’ is six years, however an application for a storage permit can be submitted at any time during the Appraisal Term and will be subject to appropriate assessments and evaluations.
- The OGA is the licensing authority for offshore carbon dioxide storage in the UK, approving and issuing carbon dioxide storage and appraisal licences, storage permits, and maintaining the carbon storage public register.
- It should be noted that the licences do not convey permission for development activities including drilling and injection testing: these require further consents from the OGA.
- Certain activities proposed under CS licences may also be subject to specific environmental assessment by BEIS (Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED)).
- A licensee also requires a lease from the Crown Estate/Crown Estate Scotland (as applicable) before undertaking storage activities.
- The OGA also asks petroleum licence operators, as part of approving any cessation of production plans, to show that they have considered economic development opportunities, including the CCS potential, for any infrastructure.
- In addition, the OGA is a statutory consultee to the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), in relation to operators’ decommissioning plans, in particular whether reuse opportunities or potential has been considered.
- In 2019 there were 31.9 million licensed cars in the UK.
- The list of carbon appraisal and storage projects licensed by the OGA can be seen here
- The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
- BEIS leads government policy on CCS.
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