Shell is joining forces with Harbour Energy and Storegga Geotechnologies as equal partners in what could be one of the largest and most mature UK carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen projects.
Based at the St Fergus gas terminal in North East Scotland, the Acorn CCS and hydrogen project is expected to be storing at least 5m tons a year of CO2 by 2030, half the emissions aimed by the UK government.
Anticipated to be operational by the mid-2020s, Acorn CCS can repurpose existing gas pipelines to take CO2 directly to the Acorn offshore storage site.
The Acorn hydrogen plant, which is the second phase of the project, could be online in 2025. This phase will involve reforming North Sea natural gas into clean-burning hydrogen, with the associated CO2 emissions captured and stored offshore.
The project is led by Storegga’s subsidiary Pale Blue Dot, with undisclosed funding from Harbour and Shell.
Shell is looking to have access to an additional 25m tonnes a year of CCS capacity by 2035. The oil and gas major has large scale projects being developed in Australia and Norway, and a facility in Canada already capturing 1m tonnes per year.
Nick Cooper, CEO of Storegga, said: “Safely and securely managing and removing the emissions of industry and society is our core business, this agreement cements our relationship with our industry partners, Shell and Harbour Energy, and allows us to look forward with confidence to the next few years as we race to tackle climate change in a way that’s sustainable, cost efficient and deliverable.”
One of the early project backers, Total, decided to step down as part of its portfolio management strategy.