CCUS Action Plan promises reviews to be completed by end 2019

Carbon capture and storage is in the spotlight today as the UK hosts a summit on carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).

Government’s contribution was a CCUS Action Plan, intended to deploy CCUS at scale during the 2030s, ‘subject to the costs coming down sufficiently’.  It aims to commission the first faculty in the 2020s, so that after a 5-8 year deployment timetable for the first project, “we can use the 2020s to test and develop CCUS in the UK context”.

Government’s first ‘action point’ came on p18 of the strategy. It promised “In 2019 we will commence detailed engagement with industry on the critical challenges to delivering CCUS in the UK, in particular the cost structures, risk sharing arrangements and the necessary market-based frameworks.” It also promised to “examine in detail the scope of the opportunity for maximising economies of scale by developing a shared carbon dioxide infrastructure network in an industrial centre, and will report by the end of 2019″, when it also promised to publish a review of delivery and investment frameworks. It also suggested the £315 million Energy Transformation Fund might be open to CCUS.

BEIS noted that it had announced three new CCUS innovation programmes this year:

  • A £20 million CCU Demonstration Programme to fund design and construction of CCU demonstration plants in the UK.
  • A £15 million CCUS Call for Innovation to fund innovation projects that lead to significant cost reduction in, or quicker, more widespread deployment of CCUS technology.
  • £6.5 million of UK funding to the second international call of the Accelerating Carbon Technologies (ACT) research programme, a €30 million fund supporting CCUS research across 11 countries that can lead to safe and cost effective development of CCUS technology. 

It’s not clear how much the £20 million investment in demonstration plants will focus on capture and how much on utilisation – BEIS says, “Utilising carbon dioxide can also help improve the economics of CCUS projects and some uses, such as in cement and aggregate production, can support decarbonisation through permanent sequestration of carbon dioxide. … Implementing CCU to manufacture these innovative new low carbon products could contribute to cutting UK emissions, support the development of new carbon capture technologies, create new jobs, investment, and export opportunities for UK industries and SMEs.”

Alongside the summit, OGCI Climate Investments announced  that it is entering into a strategic partnership with BP, ENI, Equinor, Occidental Petroleum, Shell and Total to progress the Clean Gas Project in Teesside. It could form the heart of a ‘Tees Valley CCUS cluster’ that will capture CO2 from power generation and local industrial emitters in Teesside. The project is a result of collaboration between OGCI Climate Investments, its member companies, central and local government and local industry.

The partnership will support the technical and commercial progression of the Clean Gas Project on to the next stage of development, when it will be the anchor for a decarbonized industrial cluster in Tees Valley. The partnership will continue to work with the government on commercial terms that support the stakeholders involved, including the Tees Valley Mayor, the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), local industry, and the community.

The Clean Gas Project will use natural gas to generate power, with CO2 captured and transported by pipeline for storage in a formation under the Southern North Sea. The clean CO2 could also attract CO2-utilisation companies, the promoters said. The team is looking for additional partners across the full value chain and aims to progress toward engineering design in 2019.

Another CCUS project, dubbed Acorn, is described as a low-cost, low-risk CCUS project, designed to be built quickly, taking advantage of existing oil and gas infrastructure and a well understood offshore CO2 storage site. It has been designated a European Project of Common Interest (PCI).

The UK and Scottish governments, along with project developer Pale Blue Dot Energy and oil and gas major Total, have  announced they will match funding from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facilities fund, to progress feasibility work on the  project.

The project is located at the St Fergus gas terminal, where around 35% of all the natural gas used in the UK comes onshore. Pale Blue Dot Energy said the project is an important catalyst ford: 

  • A major hydrogen and CCS hub at St Fergus
  • An economic opportunity for the deep-water port at Peterhead
  • A repurposed onshore pipeline to deal with Scotland’s central belt emissions
  • An international CO2 storage hub in the central North Sea that unlocks CO2 transportation and storage solutions for other UK carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) clusters.

It said that “With the right support, Acorn CCS could be operating in the early 2020s”.

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