UK CCS cluster step closer to execution phase with approval for CO2 pipeline

The UK Government has granted a development consent order (DCO) for a newbuild CO2 pipeline that will transport CO2 from capture plants across the North West of England and North Wales to permanent storage in Eni’s depleted natural gas reservoirs, located under the seabed in Liverpool Bay.

The Secretary of State for the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) has granted the DCO for the HyNet North West CO2 pipeline, which will allow the construction, operation, and maintenance of infrastructure to transport captured CO2 as part of the HyNet CCS cluster, where Italy’s oil and gas giant Eni is the transportation and storage operator.

The DCO is said to be the first Anglo-Welsh cross-border application for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) to be granted by DESNZ.

The application was submitted to the UK Planning Inspectorate for consideration on October 3, 2022, and accepted for Examination on October 31, 2022. Recommendations were made to the Secretary of State on December 20, 2023. 

The DCO brings the HyNet CCS cluster closer to the execution phase, with FID expected by September 2024. 

“We see the UK as an attractive destination for Eni’s investments, particularly in the area of decarbonisation. We welcome the UK Government’s ambition to promote and develop the kind of groundbreaking projects we need to address climate change, especially within hard-to-abate sectors,” said Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO.

“Carbon Capture will play a critical role in meeting this challenge by safely eliminating emissions from industries that currently do not have equally efficient and effective solutions.”

HyNet North West is promoted and developed by a multi-partner consortium which Eni leads through Eni UK. 

Eni is the operator of both onshore and offshore transport and offshore storage of CO2 that is generated by the five injector plants selected by the UK government. The transportation and storage system at HyNet will have a capacity of 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year in the first phase, with the potential to increase to up to 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year after 2030.

According to the oil and gas giant, the project will help preserve local jobs by supporting the decarbonization of hard-to-abate industries, as well as attracting investment and creating new jobs.

HyNet North West is expected to be operational by the middle of the current decade.