UK carbon capture and storage solutions company Carbon Catalyst (CCL) announced two new partners for its projects in the North Sea. Wintershall Dea, part of BASF, secured a 10% working interest in the Poseidon venture, while Summit Energy Evolution Limited (SEEL), a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation, will have the same percentage of working interest in the Orion carbon storage license.
The move marks Wintershall Dea’s entrance into its second UK CCS initiative, after the award of the Camelot license in August this year, and its fifth project in the broader North Sea, including the Greensands CCS project in the Danish North Sea.
According to Nick Terrell, Executive Director of CCL, the storage capacity of Poseidon and Orion can help decarbonise several regions: “Project customers are focused in a number of areas, with Poseidon facing domestic customers in three areas – local supply in East Anglia, London and the wider Southeast of the UK, and of course there is the very significant international opportunity in terms of providing CO2 storage services to continental Europe. Orion is primarily focused on the large Humberside industrial area in the Northeast of England.”
According to project operator, Perenco, Poseidon is due to come online by 2029. Initial CO2 injection rates will be circa 1.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), ramping up to ~10Mtpa by 2030, and peaking at ~40Mtpa, over a 40-year period.
Orion consists of two licenses which cover the Perenco-operated and decommissioned Amethyst and depleted West Sole gas fields.
For SEEL the Orion project marks the company’s entry in the UK CCS sector. Henry Morris, Executive Director at Carbon Catalyst, welcomed the deal: “SEEL not only brings extensive experience from its former activities in the UK oil & gas sector and leadership of the Bacton Energy Hub, but also leverages Sumitomo Corporation’s global energy transition activities across shipping, hydrogen production and transportation, alternative sustainable fuels and energy transition infrastructure.”
These new partnerships demonstrate the progress of carbon capture in the UK, with the industry receiving significant backing from the government to the tune of £20 billion ($25 billion). The capacity to theoretically store up to 78 billion tonnes of CO2 in the UK’s continental shelf and the closeness of emitters in the country and the region are also influencing private and public stakeholders.
Mr Terrell commented on carbon capture’s prospects in the UK by saying: “There is growing momentum and desire in the UK not only from the industry, but also from government to pursue a mechanism by which we can transport and store CO2 across our international boundaries. The UK’s storage assets are some of the largest and most proximal to continental Europe emitters and these two attributes have the biggest impact in terms of driving down storage unit costs and competitiveness. The UK has a huge opportunity to export its storage services and support international customers with their transport and storage needs.”
There are still hurdles to overcome in terms of policies that would pave the way for increased investment both in terms of UK regulations and cross-border agreements with the EU and neighboring states. The UK Energy Act 2023 recently received Royal Assent, providing a licensing regime for CO2 transport and storage, as well as government oversight of the decommissioning of carbon storage installations. But industry expectations are higher. “To truly unlock the UK’s significant storage potential we need to accelerate the pace of long term policy development to create an attractive investable proposition,” added Mr Terrell.