Partnership looks to support decarbonised clusters along the east coast

bp, Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total they have formed a new partnership, the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), to develop offshore carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and storage infrastructure in the UK North Sea.

The infrastructure which will be operated by bp, looks to accelerate the development of an offshore pipeline network to transport captured CO2 emissions to geological storage beneath the North Sea. It will an support the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) project which looks to establish a decarbonised industrial cluster in Humberside, as well as a similar project, Net Zero Teeside (NZT) in the North East.

Both of ZCH and NZT are at-scale decarbonisation projects that will kick start decarbonisation of industry and power in two of the UK’s largest industrial clusters. They aim to be commissioned by 2026 with realistic pathways to achieve net zero as early as 2030 through a combination of carbon capture, hydrogen and fuel-switching.

If the new Northern Endurance Partnership, which has submitted a funding bid to the UK Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, is successfully linked to NZT and ZCH it would allow decarbonisation of nearly 50% of the UK’s industrial emissions.

The £170 million Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge is part of the £4.7bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund set up by the UK Government to address the biggest industrial and societal challenges using research and development based in the UK. NEP’s application for funding is an important step towards enabling the development of integrated offshore carbon storage for NZT and ZCH in the UK Southern North Sea.

The bid follows the approval by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) of the addition of bp and Equinor alongside National Grid to the Endurance carbon storage licence. This affirms the strategic importance of the Endurance reservoir as the most mature large scale saline aquifer for CO2 storage in the offshore UK Continental Shelf, that can enable industrial decarbonisation from both clusters.

Andy Lane, vp of CCUS solutions at bp said: “The formation of the Northern Endurance Partnership is another significant milestone towards developing the offshore infrastructure that will be needed to safely transport and store CO2 from CCUS projects along England’s east coast. The partnership and our joint bid demonstrate industry’s willingness to come together and collaborate wherever possible to accelerate making CCUS a reality in the UK, helping to decarbonise the local economy and contributing to the UK’s climate goals.”

Grete Tveit, senior vice president for low carbon solutions at Equinor, said: “Carbon capture and storage is a crucial technology for reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and we are committed to working with others to create real change. We believe that with our partners in the Humber, Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership we can deliver deep decarbonisation of these major UK industrial clusters using CCUS and hydrogen, safeguarding jobs and helping develop world-leading low carbon expertise that can play a leading role in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050.”

Martin Cook, senior vice president for business development for National Grid Ventures aadded: “National Grid sits at the heart of the UK’s energy system and we want to contribute to the economic recovery through investing in solutions to support a net zero future. The Northern Endurance Partnership will channel the extensive experience of its members to develop and deliver the offshore transport and storage infrastructure we need to unlock the enormous benefits of deploying CCUS across the Humber and Teesside. We’re delighted to start working together with five really world class energy companies to deliver a solution that will play a critical role in decarbonising the UK’s largest industrial heartland and protecting tens of thousands of jobs in the process.”

Jason Shipstone, Drax chief innovation officer commented on the announcement stating: “Kickstarting the development of the transportation and storage infrastructure required to permanently lock away industrial CO2 emissions moves us closer to achieving Drax’s world-leading ambition to be a carbon negative company by 2030. It is also critical to the decarbonisation of many other businesses across the North.

“The formation of the Northern Endurance Partnership is therefore a very exciting development, which supports the plans for industrial decarbonisation across Yorkshire and the Humber, protecting jobs and delivering a post-Covid green recovery.”