15th Sep 2023 20:18
(Alliance News) - The UK announced Friday it had granted 21 carbon storage permits, in a first licensing round for the still largely experimental technology that the government hopes will help reach net zero.
A total of 14 companies were awarded 21 licences to utilise depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers which cover around 12,000 square kilometres, the North Sea Transition Authority said in a statement.
The agency regulates and influences the oil, gas and carbon storage industries.
The locations could store up to 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2030 – approximately 10% of UK annual emissions which were 341.5 million tonnes in 2021.
Shell PLC, Perenco and Eni Spa were among the companies to receive permits for the sites off the coast of Norfolk, eastern England.
Other sites are being considered off Aberdeen, Scotland and Liverpool on England's northwest coast.
"Carbon storage will play a crucial role in the energy transition, storing carbon dioxide deep under the seabed and playing a key role in hydrogen production and energy hubs," NSTA Chief Executive Stuart Payne said.
However, many experts and environmental groups question the extent that the government is planning to rely on this technology, which is still largely unproven at large scale and costly.
"CCS (Carbon capture and storage) is expensive, illustrated by oil companies not going it alone but demanding the government co-fund all these projects," Erik Dalhuijsen, co-founder and director of Aberdeen Climate Action CIC, told AFP.
"Not emitting the stuff is far, far, far cheaper already," he said, adding the technology "is by no means certain to be able to work at all".
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