14 Companies Secure Licenses for Carbon Storage in the UK North Sea

Credit: NSTA
Credit: NSTA

Following the UK's first-ever carbon storage licensing process, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) on Friday released the list of firms that had accepted licenses.

A total of 14 companies have been awarded 21 licences in depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers which cover around 12,000sq km – an area equivalent to the size of Yorkshire.

The locations could store up to 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030, approximately 10% of UK annual emissions which were 341.5 million tonnes in 2021.

Shell, Perenco, and ENI have all been awarded licenses off the coast of Norfolk in sites that could form part of the Bacton Energy Hub – a carbon storage, hydrogen and offshore wind project, which could provide low-carbon energy for London and the South East for decades to come and help in the drive to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Other locations include sites off the coasts of Aberdeen, Teesside, and Liverpool.  

Stuart Payne, NSTA Chief Executive, said: “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. It is exciting to award these licences and our teams will support the licensees to bring about first injection of carbon dioxide as soon as possible. We will also continue to work with industry and government to enable further licensing activity and back the UK’s drive to net zero emissions.”

It is estimated that as many as 100 storage licenses will be needed to meet the requirements for reaching net zero and the volume of applications received for the first round demonstrated the industry’s desire for further opportunities, the NSTA said.

The NSTA will assess the response and the quality of opportunities in locations across the UK before deciding when to run a second round.

Six licences have already been granted by the NSTA and the Government recently announced £20bn funding for the progression of these existing projects. Two locations, Hynet and the East Coast Cluster, have been selected as Track 1, while Acorn and Viking CCS projects have been chosen as the Track 2 clusters.

The cluster sequencing process was set up to give the industry the certainty it requires to deploy carbon storage at pace.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said: "The UK has one of the largest potential carbon dioxide storage capacities in Europe, putting us in prime position to be world leaders in carbon capture – which is why we’ve committed an unprecedented £20 billion to develop the early stage development of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS)."

OEUK Sustainability and Policy Director Mike Tholen said:

“Carbon capture and storage will be a major tool in the fight against climate change and will drive economic growth. With the potential to store up to 78 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide underneath the UK's oceans, the UK can lead the way.

“We have an oil and gas industry with the right expertise, skills, and people needed to make this a British success story, and these licenses are another step towards achieving that goal.

“If we get this right, it could not only significantly reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, but position us as world leaders in the low carbon space – creating opportunities for UK people and businesses and playing on our industrial strengths.

We will need 100 such sites or more to reach net zero, so we mustn’t stop here. The companies investing in nascent opportunities like carbon storage will require the cash flow from a stable and predictable oil and gas business to fund these technologies.

“That is why we need continued support from government across the whole energy landscape, and long-term, competitive energy policies that attract the investment and innovation we will need to make sure these solutions are being built in the UK, for the UK.”


Details of Licensees

Licence numberLicenseePartners (where applicableAreaOther info (Area of interest)
CS008ENI UK Ltd SNSSNS Area 4 Hewett Area
CS009Perenco UK LtdCarbon Catalyst LtdSNSSNS Area 4 Leman Area
CS010Spirit Energy Production UK Ltd EISEIS Area 1 Morecambe Area
CS011Pale Blue Dot Energy LtdShell UK Ltd; Chrysaor LtdCNSCNS Area 2 Acorn East
CS012Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd Shell UK Ltd;  Chrysaor Ltd CNSCNS Area 1 East Mey
CS013Enquest CCS Ltd NNSNNS Area 1 Magnus sub area
CS014Enquest CCS Ltd  NNSNNS Area 1 Thistle sub area
CS015Enquest CCS Ltd  NNSNNS Area 2 Tern sub area
CS016Enquest CCS Ltd  NNSNNS Area 2 Eider sub area
CS017Perenco UK LtdCarbon Catalyst LtdSNSSNS Area6B Amethyst
CS018Perenco UK Ltd Carbon Catalyst LtdSNSSNS Area 6A West Sole
CS019Synergia Energy CCS LtdWintershall Dea Carbon Management Solutions UKSNSSNS Area 4 Camelot Area
CS020Neptune Energy CCS Projects SNSSNS Area 1 BC05 sub area
CS021Neptune Energy CCS LimitedEsso Exploration and Production UK LtdSNSSNS Area 5 Bunter BC13
CS022Neptune Energy CCS Projects  SNSSNS Area 7 Caister Bunter
CS023Chrysaor Production UK LtdBP Exploration Operating Company LtdSNSSNS Area 4 Vulcan area
CS024Chrysaor Production UK Ltd BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd SNSSNA Area 8 Audrey
CS025BP Exploration Operating Company LtdEquinor New Energy LtdSNSSNS Area 1 BC42 sub area
CS026Shell UK LtdEsso Exploration & Production UK LimitedSNSSNS Area 2 Sean Fields
CS027Shell UK Ltd Esso Exploration & Production UK Limited SNSSNS Area 2 Indefatigable field
CS028Shell UK Ltd Exploration & Production UK LimitedSNSSNS Area 3

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