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UK carbon storage ambitions ramp up


While a significant amount of work has been put into developing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects, including Northern Endurance, Acorn, Hynet and South Wales Cluster, UK storage itself remains relatively underdeveloped. This, however, all looks likely to change. Given the exponential growth in the number of companies looking to enter the CCS sector, storage is becoming ever more crucial. After all, no storage – no project! This demand means we are beginning to see the development which will be required to underpin the region’s ability to cater for an extensive storage infrastructure, capable of managing not just the UK’s emissions, but potentially also CO₂ captured further afield.


What CO storage options are there currently in the UK?


Only six UK sites have had licences granted to date, comprising four in the Southern North Sea, one off North-East Scotland and one off the North-West coast of England, in the Irish Sea. It is important to note, however that none of the existing areas are currently being used for storage.

What is happening to grow the storage base?


Momentum to use existing sites, as well as new, additional areas is growing. While licenses are usually issued on an ad hoc basis, this unprecedented interest prompted The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) to issue a managed round of new applications. There are 13 additional storage locations up for grabs, some forming part of depleted oil and gas fields, others saline aquifers. Applications closed on 13 September 2022, with awards due to be announced in early 2023 but this is only the first stage in what is a long and complex process, particularly for applications covering new areas. Awards will be made according to geological and logistical conditions (proximity to infrastructure), as well the attributes of each applicant. And that is not the end of it. Further applications must then be made to The Crown Estate in England or The Crown Estate Scotland to obtain a lease.

What next? Does the UK have room for more?


Yes – we anticipate the recent application round will be the first of many. The eventual number of sites could potentially reach more than 90 if net zero targets are to be met by 2050. As such, the existing six licensed areas, plus the potential thirteen additional licence areas, still only represent a relatively small proportion of the overall storage potential in the UK sector.  


Clarksons’ commitment to CO transportation

The Clarksons Gases team is firmly established at the heart of the global gas markets with an unrivalled track record in providing shipping and trade-related services for LPG, ammonia, petrochemical gases, and LNG. We are determined to become equally proficient in the emerging, seaborne CO₂ business and have formed a specialist team within Gases department. This specialist team continues to work closely with other divisions within Clarksons to ensure we remain at the forefront of developments in the sector. Our knowledge base on CO₂ has increased significantly and we are confident of being able to assist you with your CO₂ projects and shipping strategy.

Contact the liquid CO₂ transportation team.

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