Located approximately 70km off the coast of Humberside, the licences comprise four separate carbon storage sites at a depth of nearly 1,400m.
Together with the existing licence nearby, held by the Northern Endurance Partnership, the licences have a CO₂ storage potential of up to 23 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
The Northern Endurance Partnership is a joint venture between Equinor, BP, National Grid Ventures, Shell, and TotalEnergies.
The award of the latest licences, which have an eight year appraisal term, marks a step ahead for the country‘s efforts to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
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During the appraisal term, the licensees are entailed to achieve progress milestones, including undertaking seismic surveys and drilling wells to acquire data, prior to seeking a storage permit.
Equinor Low carbon solutions senior vice-president Grete Tveit said: “These awards of carbon storage licences by the North Sea Transition Authority represents an important next step towards the development of what could be a world-leading carbon capture and storage project, as well as establishing the world’s first net-zero industrial region by 2040.
“Under its Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, the UK government recognised the important role carbon capture and storage will play to achieve the UK’s climate change ambitions.”
Together with the latest awards, a total of six storage licences are active in the UK. The NSTA anticipates the first CO₂ injection from a CS project as soon as 2025.
The UK government aims to reach its carbon capture, usage, and storage target of 20 to 30Mtpa by 2030, and increase it to more than 50Mtpa by 2035.
Earlier this month, Equinor announced that it had agreed to sell its stakes in two oil and gas fields, in the Norwegian North Sea.