Photo: St Fergus; Source: Acorn Project

North Sea Midstream Partners joins Acorn Project in UK

The Acorn Partners – Storegga, Shell, and Harbour Energy – have revealed that North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP) has acquired a 10 per cent interest to become a participant in the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Hydrogen Project in the UK.

Storegga, Shell, and Harbour Energy became equal partners in the Acorn Project in April 2021. Come June 2021 and Shell took over as the technical developer of the project but Storegga, through Pale Blue Dot Energy, continued as the lead project developer. As the technical developer, Shell assumed responsibility for the technical planning and execution of the project, utilising its capability and experience in major infrastructure developments.

Now, as a result of NSMP’s entry, Storegga, Shell, and Harbour each hold a 30 per cent interest in the Acorn Project, the project members revealed on Tuesday.

NSMP is an independent midstream company with large scale gas infrastructure assets serving the North Sea. The project partners believed that NSMP’s St Fergus gas terminal (SFGT) is ideally positioned geographically to host the key Acorn infrastructure. It also has existing facilities and operating and maintenance service provision capability with the associated power, utilities and support services required for such a development.

NSMP believes that SFGT can help simplify and accelerate the development of Acorn by enabling all users to benefit from the synergistic opportunities that can be derived from a collaborative shared infrastructure and services business model.

The NSMP-owned SFGT site is an integral part of the Acorn CCS hub in North East Scotland. Delivering the Acorn CCS infrastructure in the 2020s is vital to enabling the United Kingdom to meet its net-zero commitments by 2050, and for Scotland to meet legally binding 2030 emission reduction targets and the earlier 2045 Net Zero path.

With over one-third of the UK’s known CO2 storage resource located within 50km of the pipeline corridors from the St Fergus gas terminal, and a demonstrated demand from both UK and international industries wanting to use the Acorn CO2 transport and storage system to permanently store their industrial emissions before 2030, this reinforces the urgent need for the development of this infrastructure, according to Acorn partners.

Nick Cooper, CEO Storegga, Lead Developer of the Acorn Project said: “We need to be developing as many UK CCS projects as possible now to support rapid decarbonisation. The UK cannot reach its Net Zero targets without the CCS capacity of projects such as the Acorn Project, and it has to be a priority for accelerated development. We do not have the luxury of choice, the climate issue is urgent, there is no time to lose.”

Andy Heppel, CEO NSMP, said: “We are delighted to become a partner and look forward to working alongside the other Acorn partners to rapidly develop the Project in support of the UK Net Zero targets.

“Together with our long-term operating partner px Group, we are committed to playing a leadership role in the achievement of a net-zero future and investing to ensure that we have the operational capability, resources and skillsets to deliver our energy transition objectives for our shippers and wider stakeholders.”

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Back in November 2021, the Acorn Project joined forces with OPITO, the global safety and skills body for the energy industry, and Scottish Cluster to create a plan for industrial skilling and reskilling training to advance the UK’s net-zero ambitions and push industry decarbonisation forward. This agreement’s main aim is to develop a blueprint of industrial skilling and reskilling training for the low carbon economy.