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MSP Gillian Martin welcomes Offshore Energies UK report on potential for Carbon Capture and Storage

By Kirsty Brown

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Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has welcomed a report from the North Sea’s oil and gas industry body highlighting the opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the UK.

The new report from Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) has found action is needed now to make sure net zero targets set by governments drive benefits for jobs and the economy.

It comes after a potential CCS site in the north-east of Scotland – the Acorn Project - was held back by the UK Government from its Track-1 programme for development.

In November last year, Ms Martin led a debate at the Scottish Parliament on the UK Government’s decision to leave the project out, receiving cross-party support.

Support for the Acorn Project had been received from industry and key stakeholders including Sir Ian Wood and the Chief Executive of OGUK who warned all five projects being considered for CCUS should be given equal support.

The UK Committee on Climate Change has also backed the project with its chief executive Chris Stark describing it as a “slam dunk”.

Now OEUK has produced and released a report, commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the North Sea Transition Deal.

It found that offshore oil and gas supply chain companies already have some capabilities including plant design and engineering, plant fabrication, and construction.

CCS has been recognised as a critical technology to help energy intensive sectors, like cement and power generation, meet their net zero goals.

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy says the UK will need to capture 50,000,000 tonnes a year by 2035.

MSP Gillian Martin
MSP Gillian Martin

A total of 13 actions for government and industry were identified, including the need for support from government through early-stage funding and additional licensing rounds.

This includes findings that the UK has most of the components necessary for a successful CCS sector; a big potential market for exports of technology and expertise; large industrial clusters; extensive gas transport infrastructure; and a good scientific understanding of the geological requirements needed for long-term CO2 storage.

CCS could be worth £20,000,000,000 to the offshore oil and gas supply chain in the next ten years, and £100,000,000,000 by 2050.

The UK has an estimated total storage capacity of 78 gigatons, one of the largest in Europe and enough to hold two centuries’ worth of the UK’s current emissions.

Commenting, MSP Gillian Martin said: “This is a very welcome report and shows the clear potential for CCS right across the UK.

“CCS is going to be a key tool in our fight against climate change and offers a huge opportunity.

“As the representative of a north-east constituency, which has been at the forefront of energy in the UK for more than 50 years, we do not have time to delay or halt the deployment of the Scottish Cluster.

“The future of the Acorn Project is not just a north-east issue – it is one for families right across Scotland who are reliant on oil and gas and their supply chains for their incomes, either directly or indirectly.

“We have possibly the most concentrated transferrable skills base on our doorstep as well as the universities to enable the innovation that will surround the project.

“The Acorn Project will support thousands of jobs and investment in the north-east and the longer-term expansion of the cluster would unlock further economic benefits with safeguarding of industrial jobs in sites across the UK.”

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