On Monday, British energy multinational bp announced that it is partnering with fellow oil and gas majors Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total on a new initiative, the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), which will develop offshore carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and storage infrastructure in the U.K. North Sea.
The carbon capture, utilization and storage initiative, which bp will lead and operate, will serve the Net Zero Teesside (NZT) and Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) projects. These two projects are set to become the world’s first net-zero industrial clusters, with the hope that their successful at-scale launch will kick-start decarbonization of industry and power in two of the U.K.’s largest industrial clusters, Teeside and Humberside. These Northern towns have historically depended upon energy-intensive industries like steelmaking, chemicals and commodity production for their economic livelihoods.
Both projects aim to be up and running by 2026, with realistic pathways to achieve net zero emissions as early as 2030. This will be achieved through a combination of carbon capture, hydrogen and fuel-switching technologies. If successful, NEP’s contribution to NZT and ZCH will enable the decarbonization of nearly 50 percent of the U.K.’s industrial emissions.
NEP has submitted a bid for funding through Phase 2 of the U.K. government’s Industrial Decarbonization Challenge. This is a £170 million (about $221 million) government incentive program designed to speed up development of an offshore pipeline network to transport captured CO2 emissions from both NZT and ZCH to offshore geological storage beneath the U.K. North Sea.
The Industrial Decarbonization Challenge is itself part of a £4.7 billion (about $6.1 billion) Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund set up by the U.K. government to address pressing industrial and societal challenges using research and development based in the U.K. NEP’s application for funding is an important step towards enabling the development of integrated offshore carbon storage for NZT and ZCH in the U.K. Southern North Sea.
The application follows the approval by the U.K. Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) of the addition of bp and Equinor alongside National Grid to the latter’s carbon storage license in the Endurance reservoir. Endurance is the most mature large scale saline aquifer for CO2 storage in the offshore U.K. Continental Shelf that can enable industrial decarbonization from both clusters.
Big leap for CCUS
Andy Lane, vice president of CCUS solutions at bp and managing director for Net Zero Teesside, said: “The formation of the Northern Endurance Partnership is another significant milestone towards developing the offshore infrastructure that will be needed to safely transport and store CO2 from CCUS projects along England’s east coast. The partnership and our joint bid demonstrate industry’s willingness to come together and collaborate wherever possible to accelerate making CCUS a reality in the UK, helping to decarbonize the local economy and contributing to the U.K.’s climate goals.”
Grete Tveit, senior vice president for low carbon solutions at Equinor, said: “Carbon capture and storage is a crucial technology for reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and we are committed to working with others to create real change. We believe that with our partners in the Humber, Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership we can deliver deep decarbonization of these major UK industrial clusters using CCUS and hydrogen, safeguarding jobs and helping develop world-leading low carbon expertise that can play a leading role in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050.”
And Martin Cook, senior vice president for business development for National Grid Ventures , said: “National Grid sits at the heart of the UK’s energy system and we want to contribute to the economic recovery through investing in solutions to support a net zero future. The Northern Endurance Partnership will channel the extensive experience of its members to develop and deliver the offshore transport and storage infrastructure we need to unlock the enormous benefits of deploying CCUS across the Humber and Teesside. We’re delighted to start working together with five really world class energy companies to deliver a solution that will play a critical role in decarbonizing the UK’s largest industrial heartland and protecting tens of thousands of jobs in the process.”