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National Grid UK to develop offshore CO2 storage site

15 March 2013

In February, the Crown Estate confirmed it has signed a lease agreement with National Grid UK for an offshore saline aquifer that could permanently store CO2, 70 miles from the east Yorkshire coast. The deal provides a boost to National Grid's plans for a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) cluster on Humberside that would capture and store around a million tonnes of carbon emissions each year from power stations and heavy industry in the area.

National Grid must next provide a development timetable for its offshore test drilling programme as it seeks to identify the best areas for potential CO2 storage.

Jim Ward, head of CCS at National Grid, said the deal with the Crown Estate was the culmination of a three-year work programme largely funded by the EU and National Grid.

"We are delighted to have been awarded an agreement for lease from the Crown Estate. The site is close to the shore, and, importantly, near to the UK's largest clusters of carbon dioxide emitters, making it the ideal location to safely and permanently store carbon dioxide. Our work to date has confirmed that the site is very large and capable of storing carbon dioxide from both power generation and industrial sources.”

He added: “The site is close to the shore, and importantly, near to the UK’s largest clusters of CO2 emitters, making it the ideal location to safely and permanently store CO2. The drilling will confirm the extent to which the site is capable of storing CO2 from regional power stations and industrial sites.”

National Grid says that the agreement will support the development of a CCS cluster in the Humber and Yorkshire region, which currently emits 60m t/y of CO2 from power stations and industrial sites, the greatest concentration of emissions in the UK. 

The site also has two major CCS power stations in the pipeline – 2CO’s Don Valley Power Project and the White Rose Project, which will see Alstom, Drax, BOC and National Grid collaborate to build a 426 MW oxy-fired power station at Drax’s existing site in North Yorkshire. The cluster project received a grant from the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR).

The agreement is the second CO2 storage lease awarded by the Crown Estate. Last year Shell and SSE's Peterhead project secured the UK's first licence to store CO2 offshore in the depleted Goldeneye gas field under the North Sea. Several more companies are in discussions.

"The conclusion of this agreement for lease with National Grid is an exciting step for the fledgling industry," said the Crown Estate in a statement. "Much work still has to be done to progress CCS and in particular transport and storage infrastructure."

James Smith, chairman of the Carbon Trust and former chairman of Shell UK, says the UK has much to gain from CCS. 

“We have two of the world's top oil companies, skilled in the injection and storage of carbon dioxide. The UK is home to a highly capable process engineering industry. And we have a very strong university research base. Research co-ordinated by the Carbon Trust has found that CCS industrial development could contribute up to £16bn to UK GDP cumulatively up to 2050.”

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