The BP-led effort for a major offshore carbon storage site to be located in the North Sea achieved what is being failed as a major milestone with the awarding of an Agreement for Lease from the UK’s Crown Estate which manages all the country’s offshore resources. Years in planning, the project known as Endurance CCS could become one of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.
In announcing the agreement today, the Crown Estate said it will allow BP, as the lead operator, to further progress plans for Endurance, which has the potential to store 450 million tonnes of CO2. It has the potential to become a major contributor to the UK Government’s ambitions to capture and store 20–30 MtCO2 per year by 2030.
The Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP) was formed in 2020 as the CO2 transportation and storage company that will deliver the onshore and offshore infrastructure needed to capture carbon from a range of emitters in the Teesside and the Humber region of northeast England near the cities of Hull and York.
BP reported that six of the world’s biggest energy companies had joined forces on the project that could cut the UK’s industrial emissions in half. Since then, Shell and National Grid have withdrawn from the effort to focus on alternate projects, but BP along with Eni, Equinor, and TotalEnergies continue to push forward with the effort. They had said the goal was to have the first elements in place by as early as 2060 and full operations by 2030.
The Endurance CCS project is a reservoir in the rock deep below the North Sea which would be used to store hard-to-abate carbon emissions captured from carbon-intensive heavy industry in the region. The Endurance reservoir is located about 90 miles off the coast of Teesside and just over 50 miles off the Humber coast and has been billed as the most mature and large-scale saline aquifer for CO2 storage in the offshore UK Continental Shelf.
Officials from the Crown Estate hailed the Agreement for the Lease as a significant milestone in the maturation of carbon capture, usage, and storage, a technology dubbed by the Climate Change Committee as a “necessity, not an option” if the UK is to meet its 2050 net zero target.
“The Crown Estate is firmly focused on maximizing the potential of the seabed in support of net zero and energy security,” said Gus Jaspert, Managing Director of Marine at The Crown Estate. “Supporting the development of CCS is a key priority for The Crown Estate.”
Endurance forms part of the Northern Endurance Partnership’s (NEP) East Coast Cluster, which in October 2021 was selected as one of the first clusters in phase-1 of the UK Government’s CCS cluster sequencing process. The cluster also benefits from a license awarded by the North Sea Transmission Authority (NSTA), with whom The Crown Estate collaborates closely in seeking to shape the CCS industry for the benefit of the nation.
In June 2023, the Endurance project cleared another key hurdle when BP and Ørsted announced they had reached a commercial agreement. The companies resolved a dispute regarding the overlap of the Endurance license area with the Hornsea wind farm.
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