UK regulator the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has announced that 26 bids were submitted in the UK's first carbon storage licensing round by a total of 19 companies.
On offer were 13 areas, off the coasts of Aberdeen, Teesside, Liverpool and Lincolnshire. Licenses are expected to be awarded in early 2023.
NSTA says that the differing sizes and scale of each project means they will progress at different speeds, but the first injection of CO2 could come 4-6 years after a licence is awarded.
According to the NSTA, once operational, the sites "could make a significant contribution to the aim of storing 20-30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year by 2030".
NSTA says the round is likely to be the first of many "as up to 100 CO2 stores could be needed for the UK to meet the net zero by 2050 target".
It highlighted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in April 2022 emphasised that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies were necessary for power and industry sectors to reach net zero emissions.
Eni earlier announced that it had submitted a bid for a CCS license at the Hewett depleted gas field.
Nick Richardson, NSTA Head of Exploration and New Ventures, said: “We were very pleased with the quantity and quality of applications we have received from a diverse range of applicants. The clear appetite among companies to get involved shows that the UK is well-positioned to become a world-leader in the sector.
“Carbon storage can play a big part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and awarding additional licences in 2023 will be a significant step forward.”