NSTA awards carbon storage license encompassing 'UK's largest depleted gas field'

NSTA awards carbon storage license encompassing ‘UK’s largest depleted gas field’

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has awarded a license for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project encompassing the “UK’s largest depleted gas field” in its first competitive carbon storage license round.

Source: Perenco

The NSTA has awarded Perenco UK and Carbon Catalyst with a license to progress their Poseidon carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at the Leman gas fields in the UK southern North Sea.

Leman, deemed as one of the largest geological structures in the Southern North Sea sector of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), offers a mixture of depleted gas reservoirs and saline aquifers in which to permanently store recovered CO2.

According to Perenco, the CCS project has the potential to significantly decarbonize both the East and Southeast of England and is due to come online by 2029. Initial CO2 injection rates will be circa 1.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), ramping up to 40 Mtpa, over a 40-year period.

It will connect a range of CO2 emitters across East Anglia, London, and the wider Southeast of the UK via the PUK-operated Bacton Gas Terminal to the offshore Poseidon geological storage sites.

“Poseidon has the potential to make a very material contribution to the decarbonisation of the UK economy by storing up to 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year into the giant depleted Leman gas field and overlying aquifer system. CCL is looking forward to supporting Perenco as they progress through the appraisal period towards final investment decision, with the ultimate goal of achieving first CO2 injection by 2029,” Henry Morris, Executive Director at Carbon Catalyst, stated.

The project is set to immediately move into further detailed appraisal of the storage sites and commence work to bring the selected concept to an on-time and on-budget delivery, the company said.

Jo White, General Manager of Perenco UK, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to leverage Perenco UK’s deep experience of gas operations by developing a project that will help to support the UK’s energy transition, generate highly skilled jobs locally and nationally, and actively facilitate the government’s NetZero targets. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to deliver this strategic project.”

Perenco, which will be the operator, said it was formalizing the start of a new strategic Perenco CCS department within the group which will be based in its London head office. The team is set to assess and deliver opportunities for carbon storage projects in the UK and internationally.

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The NSTA launched the UK’s first-ever carbon storage licensing round in June 2022, with applications closing in September. In May, the authority announced it had offered 12 companies awards for 20 carbon storage licenses.

The offers came in the wake of the announcement that the UK Government is allocating up to £20 billion in support of developing CCUS, starting with projects in the East Coast, Merseyside and North Wales.