US supermajor ExxonMobil has signed up to participate in the Storegga-led Acorn carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Scotland.

ExxonMobil confirmed it had signed a memorandum of understanding to participate in the CCS project, joining fellow oil industry giants Shell and Harbour Energy in the development led by Storegga subsidiary Pale Blue Dot.

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The Acorn project will look to capture and store at least 5 million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide by 2030 from gas terminals at the St Fergus complex at Peterhead, Scotland, which includes ExxonMobil’s joint venture gas terminal.

The captured CO2 will then be piped about 100 kilometres offshore to be stored in rock formations deep below the North Sea. The project will also capitalise on existing oil and gas infrastructure, with about 420 kilometres of offshore pipelines from the existing St Fergus hub having already been identified as suitable to reuse for CO2 transport.

ExxonMobil said there is scope for the Acorn project to be expanded to capture more than 20 million tpa of CO2 by the mid-2030s.

Friday's announcement comes after it was also revealed this week that London-based Carbon Clean would be working with Aberdeen-based Wood on engineering, process design and construction planning for the carbon capture process unit.

Neccus alliance

ExxonMobil also said it had joined Neccus, an alliance of industry, government and experts working to reduce carbon emissions from industry in Scotland.

The US supermajor claimed it would help the alliance explore the potential of "technology-driven solutions" to reduce emissions, based on its global experience with CCS.

“Our membership in Neccus and our involvement with Acorn underscores our commitment to addressing the dual challenge of meeting the world’s energy needs while reducing emissions from our operations,” Joe Blommaert, president of Low Carbon Solutions at ExxonMobil, said.

“As a world leader in the development and use of carbon capture and storage, we will work with the alliance to identify how this technology can play a pivotal role in reducing Scotland’s emissions.”

Neccus chief executive Mike Smith welcomed ExxonMobil’s alliance membership, noting that decarbonising industrial emissions is essential in meeting Scotland’s 2045 net-zero emissions target.

“We believe Scotland is well placed to deliver on technologies such as carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen, which are necessary to achieve a net-zero industrial cluster,” he added.

“Collaboration across the organisations within Neccus will be essential to this ambition, and the experience ExxonMobil brings will enhance this collaboration.”

CCS experience

ExxonMobil has more than three decades of experience in CCS and claims to have an equity share in about one-fifth of global CO2 capture capacity.

It also launched its Low Carbon Solutions business earlier this year to commercialise low-emission technologies, with an initial focus on CCS.

In April it announced plans for a $100 billion CCS hub along the Houston Ship Channel, which could potentially capture 50 million tpa of CO2 by 2030, and 100 million tpa by 2040.

ExxonMobil is also involved in several recently proposed European CCS developments in addition to Acorn, earlier this month joining TotalEnergies, along with several other companies, to explore decarbonising an industrial hub in Normandy, France, and storing CO2 under the North Sea.

It is also involved in the proposed Porthos CCS project in the Netherlands that aims to capture and transport CO2 from industry in the Port of Rotterdam to store in empty gas fields beneath the North Sea.