A collection of oil and gas majors are to launch a carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) “anchor project” as part of Net Zero Teesside.
BP, Eni, Equinor, Shell and Total are taking over the site from The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI). The project was previously being run as the Clean Gas Project, but will now be updated to accelerate net zero.
The consortium, with BP as the operator, will run combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) together with carbon capture technology to provide a flexible source of power to compliment growing renewables.
Increasingly, as the penetration of intermittent renewables in the energy mix grows, sources of flexible generation are being looked at to balance the grid. In a recent report by Energy UK, flexibility was referred to as “crucial” for reaching net zero, a statement supported by the National Infrastructure Commission’s annual report.
The project is also set to help with decarbonising local industry, building a transportation and storage system that will gather industrial CO2, compress it and store it in a reservoir under the North Sea.
Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments, said the project was a demonstration of the OGCI’s commitment to “accelerating CCUS on a global scale".
“It’s the anchor project, first ideated at the UK Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), developed into an industrial carbon cluster within OGCI Climate Investments and now, the first hub within OGCI’s CCUS Kickstarter initiative. This transfer of ownership to the OGCI consortium is proof of how OGCI’s initiative is successfully supporting emerging hubs.”
CCUS is emerging as a key focus for the oil and gas industry and government, with support for developing the technology now a common feature in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) funding.
However, many have criticised the technology as a distraction from the pursuit of a truly green energy system. A report by the Centre for Alternative Technology recently outlined how the UK could reach net zero without CCUS and instead using only proven, existing technologies.
The consortium will now work with the UK government and local stakeholders, including the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, to develop the project on the South Tees Development Corporation site.
It will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with three industrial partners from the site at an launch ceremony today (28 February).
The project has a potential start-up date of the mid-2020’s, and will support 5,500 direct jobs and bring an annual gross benefit of up to £450 million for the Teesside region, the group claimed.
Andy Lane, managing director of Net Zero Teesside, added: “Its advantageous location, advanced planning stage, the expertise of our world class project partners and government support for decarbonisation in the UK mean Net Zero Teesside is uniquely positioned to become the UK’s first decarbonised cluster.
"The formation of such a powerful partnership led by BP demonstrates the industry’s commitment to the UK government’s net zero targets. We’re hugely excited to see Teesside back at the forefront of UK industry and want the project to progress further.”