Oil companies have been granted licences by the UK government that it hopes will enable them to store up to 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions in old oil and gasfields beneath the seabed. From a report: The government awarded more than 20 North Sea licences covering an area the size of Yorkshire to 14 companies that plan to store carbon dioxide trapped from heavy industry in depleted oil and gasfields. The companies include the oil supermajor Shell, Italy’s state-owned oil company ENI, and Harbour Energy, the largest independent oil and gas company operating in the UK’s North Sea basin.
The industry’s government-backed regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), claims the companies could help store up to 30m tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030, or approximately 10% of UK annual emissions. The plan to develop old oil and gasfields into vast repositories of CO2 is part of the government’s plan to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry to reduce emissions from heavy industry entering the atmosphere and contributing to global heating. Stuart Payne, the NSTA’s chief executive, said: “Carbon storage will play a crucial role in the energy transition, storing carbon dioxide deep under the seabed and playing a key role in hydrogen production and energy hubs.”