Photo: Illustration; Source: Eni

Eni seeks approval for CCS project in depleted North Sea field and sets up net-zero initiative

Following a license application for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in a depleted field in the North Sea, Eni UK, a subsidiary of the Italian oil and gas company Eni, has revealed the creation of a net-zero initiative to support this application. This initiative is targeting decarbonisation of the UK South East.

Eni disclosed on Wednesday that it has submitted a carbon storage license application through the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) system for the Hewett depleted gas field in the Southern North Sea. This licence would allow the company to develop a CCS project aimed at decarbonising the Bacton and Thames Estuary area.

Eni submitted its plans for decommissioning of six platforms on the Hewett field – 48/29A Complex, 48/29B and 48/29C and 52/5A – in July 2020 to the UK authorities. The decommissioning work is expected to be completed by 2025, however, this does not seem to be the end for this field as this CCS project will give it a new lease of life.

The company pointed out that the Hewett depleted gas field is “an ideal site for permanent and safe” CO2 storage with a total capacity of about 330 million tonnes. According to the firm, this CCS project would prevent “a significant volume of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere, equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of over 3 million homes or over 6 million cars per year. Eni believes that it can leverage its “extensive experience and subsurface knowledge” of the Hewett field, “having operated safely the gas production in the area for over 40 years.”

Furthermore, Eni outlined plans to set up the Bacton Thames Net Zero initiative, aiming to decarbonise and unlock “new greener growth opportunities” for the automotive, ceramics, food, materials, energy and waste disposal sectors in the UK South East, supporting materially the UK’s decarbonisation strategy. Within its statement, the company underlined that it will “play a pivotal role” in this industry-led initiative by transporting and storing CO2 in the Hewett field, which could be operational as early as 2027.

Moreover, the firm intends to provide “further added value” to this initiative by leveraging on the ongoing technical and commercial experience gained from Liverpool Bay CCS and the wider HyNet NW Cluster, as an existing CO2 appraisal and storage license holder.

Eni highlighted that the collaboration of industrial partners under the Bacton Thames Net Zero initiative could “contribute significantly” to the development of a hydrogen economy in the UK. In addition, it could become a “game-changer” in addressing the decarbonisation needs of the UK’s South-East while supporting net-zero targets.

When it comes to Eni’s most recent activities elsewhere, it is worth noting that the Italian giant is gearing up to start drilling operations on an exploration well located in Block 7 in the Sureste Basin offshore Mexico in late 2022.

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The drilling activities are going to be carried out with a Valaris-owned semi-submersible rig, which drilled a different well in this block a couple of years ago but failed to find hydrocarbons.