UK NSTA creates carbon transportation and storage team
In response to the rapid growth of the carbon capture and storage industry, UK’s North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has set up a dedicated carbon transportation and storage team.
The team, which supplements NSTA’s established exploration and new ventures team, will oversee the delivery of offshore carbon transportation and storage developments.
NSTA said that the new team, headed by Alistair Macfarlane, has been established to steward the industry from the point of site characterisation to permit application and beyond as it develops and grows.
The team will work with operators on their development plans, execution of their work programmes, and, following the commencement of CO2 injection, ensuring projects are operating as per the conditions of their storage permit.
Alistair Macfarlane, NSTA Area Manager, said: “The importance of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as part of the energy transition and helping the UK to meet net zero cannot be overestimated. I am very excited to be heading this team and building a centre of excellence to deliver the regulatory role the NSTA has as efficiently and smoothly as possible to support this growing industry which can play a crucial role in supporting the move towards net zero and providing skilled jobs.”
The existing exploration and new ventures team will continue to handle the UK storage portfolio, execute licensing rounds, and steward industry exploration and appraisal work programmes from the point of licence award to the end of site characterisation.
The UK government has set a target to capture 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030 for the UK to reach net zero by 2050, and according to the Climate Change Committee’s 6th Carbon Budget report and the NSTA-led Energy Integration Project, CCS is vital for achieving it.
NSTA also noted that a successful CCS industry could support an estimated 50,000 jobs and enable further low-carbon technologies, such as blue hydrogen.
The creation of the new team comes as NSTA considers applications for UK’s first-ever CCS licensing round.
The round was launched in June last year and it is expected that licences will be offered for an award in the coming weeks.
The round is expected to be the first of many, with estimates that up to 100 separate stores could be required for the UK to meet its domestic storage requirements.
Jo Bagguley, NSTA Principal Regional Geologist, said: “The NSTA is progressing evaluations of applications in the UK’s ground-breaking first carbon storage round at pace, and we hope to be in a position to make offers of award within weeks. Pending award, many of these licences should result in substantial exploration and appraisal activity over the next several years, resulting in better characterisation of subsurface storage sites that can subsequently be passed into the development cycle.”
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