Numbers start to add up for Net Zero Teesside
The Northern Endurance Partnership has been formed to provide offshore infrastructure to support projects
Two of the UK’s most promising carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects received a substantial boost in late October with the announcement of a new partnership to develop offshore CO₂ transport and storage infrastructure in the UK North Sea.
A consortium of BP, Italy’s Eni, Norway’s Equinor, the UK’s National Grid, Shell and Total confirmedt on 26 October the formation of the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP). With BP as operator, NEP will provide infrastructure for the developing Net Zero Teesside (NZT) and Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) decarbonised industrial clusters, both based on the coast of Northeast England. NEP has submitted a bid for funding from the UK government’s £170mn ($220mn) Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge.
Andy Lane spoke to Petroleum Economist in his capacity as managing director of NZT, but he is also the vice president of CCUS solutions at BP. NZT aims to fully decarbonise a cluster of carbon-intensive businesses as early as 2030. The NZT consortium—operator BP, Eni, Equinor, Shell and Total—aims to capture 10mn t CO₂ each year, equivalent to the emissions of up to 3mn UK homes.
How significant are the financial and non-financial resources committed to NZT?
Lane: NZT brings industry funding, innovation, an ability to build to scale and a commitment to reduce cost. The development of the project demonstrates commitment and a financial investment first in October 2017 from OGCI Climate Investments, the $1bn+ investment fund of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), and then the consortium’s five OGCI members when they assumed leadership in July 2020.
Each member has dedicated significant resources to support the development of NZT and, together, they aim to achieve significant cost reductions through shared infrastructure, increased scale and technical innovation. However, government support and policy is needed to ensure that a UK CCUS industry is commercially viable.
What benefits would the NEP infrastructure bring to NZT, ZCH and potentially other projects?
Lane: When it becomes operational, NEP’s purpose will be to transport CO₂ captured at both the industrial clusters to North Sea storage facilities. The clusters include emissions from power generation through a newbuild CCGT with carbon capture, existing industrial processes and newbuild blue hydrogen facilities.
Other emissions could include those from bioenergy and waste-to-power projects, as well as potentially new industries attracted by CCS. If successful, NEP linked to NZT and ZCH will allow decarbonisation of nearly 50pc of the UK’s industrial emissions.
“Each member has dedicated significant resource to support the development of NZT”
How important is financial support from the government to getting these projects going?
Lane: NZT is uniquely positioned to become the UK’s first decarbonised industrial cluster and support the UK’s climate goals. However, policy clarity and contractual certainty are essential. The development of commercial models is the key requirement for CCUS—they provide investors with confidence on the commerciality of projects. With ambitious government support, the UK can be a world leader in CCUS development, providing new economic opportunities, jobs and skills. NEP has made a bid for government funding, to share costs in the early engineering phase.
How important is industry collaboration to this project’s success?
Lane: NZT cannot be developed alone—we need to work together across our industry. The consortium of five OGCI members developing the project brings together the expertise of world-class industry players with experience in successfully developing CCUS technology. We are experienced in building to scale and are confident in doing so at Teesside.
Private and public collaboration is critical. The project’s success is built on partnership—financial and project support from OGCI, its partners and the UK government, as well as the local community. Project progress has been boosted by enthusiastic support from vital local stakeholders, including Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley Combined Authority, the North East of England Process Industry Cluster and our cluster partners, among others.
How could the uses of the NEP infrastructure evolve?
Lane: One of the reasons for choosing the northeast to develop a CCUS industry is the proximity to the huge storage potential. The total 1,000mn t for North Sea CO₂ storage capacity includes future expansion beyond the NEP structure—which has a capacity of approximately 450mn t—to similar nearby geological traps. We believe—due to the large storage potential and significant emissions on the east coast of the UK and elsewhere—there is potential for infrastructure to be extended to other CO₂ emitters in Teesside, Humberside and beyond.