Shell has become the second partner to withdraw from a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the UK North Sea.
The announcement that the international supermajor would be pulling out of the project comes only a day after a similar announcement was made by UK utility company National Grid.
The Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), as the project is known, is one of the country’s largest carbon capture projects aimed at decarbonizing two of the heaviest-emitting industrial areas, Humber and Teesside.
Shell stated that the reason for the unexpected decision is the result of a reevaluation of its portfolio and strategy, which led the oil giant to focus its efforts on the Acorn CCS project in Scotland.
Shell is the technical developer for the Acorn carbon capture project in the UK and believes its resources will be put to better use there.
Nonetheless, the company re-confirmed its commitment to help the UK government reach its net-zero targets, which is crucial at this point in time, only weeks after it pledged an unprecedented £20 billion (~$25 billion) investment in the nascent carbon capture technology.
“We remain committed to helping the (British) government realize its ambition of four industrial CCS clusters by 2030,” Shell said.
Both Shell’s and National Grid’s holdings were bought by the other partners in the NEP CCS project, BP and Equinor, where BP is set to become the system operator of the pipeline project.
Under current plans, the NEP project would have provided the infrastructure necessary to capture, transport and permanently store the CO2 emissions from industrial emitters in the region.
The emissions, in turn, would be injected deep beneath the seabed of the UK North Sea.