UK Oil and Gas Authority awards first CCS license to Acorn project

Dec 06 2018

The award has been made to Pale Blue Dot Energy (Acorn) Ltd (PBD) for the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage Project.

PBD has been awarded an ‘Initial Term’ CO2 Storage Licence for a four year period. The licence grants authorisation for offshore exploration for the purposes of selecting a site for CO2 storage. Under the terms of the licence, the company would need to submit and be awarded a Storage Permit before CO2 injection could begin. The Storage Permit also sets out the requirements that the Developer must follow during operations.

The project seeks to re-use existing oil and gas infrastructure for transporting and storing carbon; and to repurpose or rebuild an existing CO2 capture facility based at the St Fergus Gas Terminal.

Dr Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of the OGA said: “The OGA fully supports the transition to a low carbon economy and can play a role in the transition. We undertake a wide range of activities which complement this, including licensing carbon capture usage and storage projects such as this.

“We welcome the government’s recently-announced Action Plan to develop the UK’s first carbon capture, usage and storage projects and are continuing our close working with the government and others to identify existing UKCS infrastructure which could be re-used. We are also looking closely where else we can play a role, including the role of gas as a transition fuel; reducing emissions in flaring and venting; considering CO2 opportunities for EOR; and where suitable bringing attention to energy integration with renewables, including gas-to-wire.”

Alan James, Managing Director of Pale Blue Dot Energy and the Acorn CCS Project Leader, added: “Securing the CCS Licence is a really important step to help us develop one of the UK’s first CO2 transportation and storage networks. Through Acorn CCS, Scotland can use legacy oil and gas assets to deliver environmental benefits, unlocking CO2 transportation and storage solutions for other CCUS projects along the east coast of the UK.”

The SCCS partnership welcomed the news, which follows Crown Estate Scotland last week issuing its first ever CO2 lease option to Acorn, underlining the requirement for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects to secure a number of permissions and consents before they can access a CO2 storage site.

Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said, "The recent announcement from OGA heralds a new future for the North Sea. The Acorn site could launch a new multi-billion offshore industry, which progressively and systematically takes the place of oil and gas extraction as fields end production from now to the 2030s. By unlocking access for re-use of existing oil and gas infrastructure, this allows the first CO2 storage projects to reduce capital costs by 20-50%."

"We are now witnessing a resurgence in optimism for the CO2 storage industry and this comes coupled to the announcement from Crown Estate Scotland last week of their first lease option for the Acorn project to use porespace offshore Scotland for long-term CO2 storage. There is now a need for the UK Government to maintain the momentum boosted by last week’s international summit on accelerating CCUS to support rapidly emerging CCUS projects around the UK."

Oil and Gas Authority
Pale Blue Dot Acorn

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