The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) announced the companies that had successfully bid for the 21 licenses. In addition to large oil and lubricant companies like Shell and BP, they also include specialists in carbon capture and smaller oil businesses. By 2030, the licences could see 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being stored under the sea in an area about the size of Yorkshire every year. The sites being licenced include areas off the coast of Aberdeen, Norfolk, Liverpool and Teesside.
NSTA Chief Executive Stuart Payne has stated that carbon storage was critical to energy transition and the energy and hydrogen production hubs that are to be built, adding:
“It is exciting to award these licences and our teams will support the licensees to bring about first injection of carbon dioxide as soon as possible. We will also continue to work with industry and government to enable further licensing activity and back the UK’s drive to net zero emissions.”
According to the NSTA, the storage capacity provided by the new licences is enough to account for about a tenth of the annual emissions in the UK at the moment. To achieve net zero emissions, an estimated 100 licences may be needed in total, so more licensing rounds are expected as four UK industrial hubs for CCS progress in the planning stage.