Oil and gas giant Shell on Tuesday pulled out of the Northern Endurance Partnership’s (NEP) East Coast Cluster carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in northern England, UK, Reuters reports.
The company said in a statement to Reuters that it pulled out of the NEP project after a review of its strategy and portfolio. It added that it will focus on the Acorn CCS project in Scotland, where it will act as the technical developer.
“We remain committed to helping the [British] Government realise its ambition of four industrial CCS clusters by 2030,” it said.
The move comes after the UK’s National Grid quit the same NEP project in the North Sea on Sunday. Its National Grid Ventures (NGV) arm has now entered negotiations to sell onshore pipeline planned to transport captured carbon to its partners, having already withdrawn from a separate phase of the project. It said it is going to focus instead on upgrading its electricity networks, which need improvement to cope with increased output from wind farms, as well as a rise in electrical demand.
The NEP project plans to capture greenhouse gas emissions from Humber and Teesside, two of the UK’s largest industrial areas, and store them beneath the North Sea. This would require the development of 120km of pipelines, starting at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire and ending in storage under the North Sea.
Last month, Shell split up its global renewable power business as part of a shakeup by new CEO Wael Sawan, as the company shifts its focus back to fossil fuels following record profits in 2022.
The move comes as a blow to the UK government’s CCS plans, set out in its spring budget last month. In a bid to meet net-zero targets without abandoning oil and gas, chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a $24bn (£20bn) investment into CCS technology over the next 20 years, aiming to capture 20-30 million tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2030.