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BP and Equinor awarded carbon storage licences

24 May 2022

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has awarded two carbon storage (CS) licences in the North Sea to BP and Equinor with an appraisal term of eight years. The four separate storage sites are located around 43 miles (70km) off the coast of Humberside. Elsewhere, BP has also announced plans for a major carbon capture and storage project in the US to enable low carbon hydrogen production at facilities operated by chemical company Linde.

Image: BP
Image: BP

As part of the North Sea CS licences, the agreed work programmes require BP and Equinor to show progress achieving milestones, such as performing seismic surveys of the four proposed storage sites and drilling wells to acquire data before applying for a storage permit. Combined with the existing licence granted for the Endurance carbon store, they could eventually contribute to the storage of up to 23 Mtpa of CO2 around 1,400m beneath the seabed. The UK government’s target for Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage is to reach 20-30 Mtpa by 2030, and over 50 Mtpa by 2035. 

The NSTA is now stewarding six CS licences on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), having awarded five licences since 2018 and agreed a transfer of a sixth. Current project estimates indicate that earliest injection from a CS project could come as soon as 2025 given the progress already seen in the HyNet, Northern Endurance Partnership’s East Coast Cluster and V Net Zero Humber Cluster projects.    

A few days after being award the CS license in the North Sea, BP announced plans to advance a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Texas, US that will enable low carbon hydrogen production at existing facilities operated by Linde. The development will also support the storage of CO2 captured from other industrial facilities – paving the way for large-scale decarbonisation of the Texas Gulf Coast industrial corridor, BP said.

Upon completion, the project will capture and store CO2 from Linde’s hydrogen production facilities in the greater Houston area – and potentially from its other Texas facilities – to produce low carbon hydrogen for the region. The low carbon hydrogen will be sold to customers along Linde’s hydrogen pipeline network under long-term contracts to enable production of low carbon chemicals and fuels.

As part of the project, BP will appraise, develop and permit the geological storage sites for permanent sequestration of the CO2. Linde will use its proprietary technology and operational experience to capture and compress the CO2 from its hydrogen production facilities for the project. Together with its extensive infrastructure of hydrogen production facilities and its storage cavern connected through its pipeline network across the Texas Gulf Coast, this project will enable Linde to supply cost-effective, reliable low carbon hydrogen and, together with BP, provide carbon capture and storage solutions, the two companies said.

The overall development, expected to be operational as early as 2026, will also enable capture and storage of CO2 from other large industrial facilities in the region and could ultimately store up to 15 million metric tons per year across multiple onshore geologic storage sites – the equivalent of taking approximately 3 million cars off the road each year.

The location of BP and Equinor's CS licenses - Image: NTSA

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