Some of the world’s biggest energy companies have announced closer collaboration to bid for government support for plans to decarbonise large swathes of industry on the east coast of the UK.
Three projects have joined forces under the banner of the "East Coast Cluster" to submit a bid to the UK government’s cluster sequencing for carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) deployment process, which will choose the first two industrial decarbonisation schemes in the UK to win backing from Whitehall.
The East Coast Cluster brings together the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), which includes BP, Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total — the participants in the BP-led Net Zero Teesside scheme and the Equinor-led Zero Carbon Humber scheme.
Other projects in Scotland, north-west England and Wales are also hoping to win support.
NEP is developing the common offshore infrastructure to transport captured carbon dioxide from the proposed Teesside and Humber schemes and pump it into storage in rocks beneath the southern North Sea.
Andy Lane, managing director of NEP, said: “The UK needs to decarbonise industry to reach net zero.
"Nearly half of all carbon emissions from UK industrial clusters come from the Humber and Teesside, making the East Coast Cluster the single biggest opportunity to decarbonise UK industry.
“Hundreds of thousands of jobs have relied on the industries which have grown in these regions and the East Coast Cluster, by decarbonising hard-to-abate industries, aims to keep it that way, while developing a platform for UK industry to compete on a global scale.”
Grete Tveit, senior vice president for low carbon solutions at Equinor, which as well as leading Zero Carbon Humber is a partner in the Teesside and Norther Endurance schemes, said carbon capture and storage and hydrogen are both crucial technologies for reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit the worst effects of climate change.
“To deliver them at scale and create real change we need collaboration like never before. And this is what we are doing with our bid to create the East Coast Cluster, working with our partners in the Humber, Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership," she said.
"We can deliver deep decarbonisation of these major industrial regions and help the UK’s journey to net zero, safeguard jobs and develop world-leading industries.”
In March the UK government handed out £171 million ($237 million) to kick-start the projects that aim to decarbonise large swathes of industry using technologies to produce clean-burning hydrogen and to capture carbon dioxide.