12 October 2021

OGA grants carbon storage licence to Harbour Energy

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded a carbon dioxide (CO2) appraisal and storage licence (CS licence) to Harbour Energy, boosting the drive to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

© Frode Koppang/Shutterstock

The licence will cover an area in the Southern North Sea off the coast of Immingham in North East Lincolnshire. Harbour’s proposal is to reuse the depleted Rotliegend gas fields, Viking and Victor, 140km from the Lincolnshire coast to securely store the CO2 in deep geological formations c.9000ft below seabed, and potentially utilise the Bunter Formation aquifer which could offer additional options to increase the future storage capacity of the project. 

The V Net Zero development concept plans to transport CO2 along a newly-constructed pipeline from Immingham to Theddlethorpe and will reuse the existing 120km LOGGS pipeline to transport the CO2 to the Viking Fields. First injection is targeted for Q4 2026. 

Initial injection rates are planned to rise to 3.6 million tonnes per year (Mtpa) which will rise to 11Mtpa by 2030, the Government’s 10 Point Plan ambition for carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) is to reach 10Mtpa by 2030.  

An average car creates approximately 2.06t of CO2 a year – therefore 11Mt CO2e per annum would amount to removing 5.3 million cars off the road. For context, in 2019 there were 31.9 million licensed cars in the UK. 

The licence requires Harbour to show progress by hitting a number of milestones along the way, including reprocessing legacy 3D seismic data.  

The expectation is that the overall project – if it goes into operation – will show that carbon storage activity is ramping up in line with the expectations laid out in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point plan and the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget and that the UK energy transition to net zero is gathering momentum.  

‘The energy integration work that the OGA has been leading shows quite clearly that carbon storage, alongside hydrogen and renewables, can play a crucial part in tackling the climate emergency,’ says Dr Andy Samuel, OGA Chief Executive. 

‘We know that time is short and real action must be taken rapidly. We will work closely with Harbour to ensure that milestones on this project are met, as we do with other projects across the North Sea.’

Capturing the UK’s carbon complex