The Oil and Gas Authority has awarded a carbon storage licence to Harbour Energy for its V Net Zero project off the Lincolnshire coast.
The company is overseeing the transportation and storage element of the bid to clean up the South Humber Bank refining sector, with a £500 million plan involving miles of new pipelines and significant infrastructure.
It will follow the route gas was brought ashore, connecting Immingham to Theddlethorpe, from where the existing Lincolnshire Offshore Gas Gathering Systems pipeline would be used to access the Viking Fields below the North Sea.
First injection is targeted for late 2026 – and securing the approval will be a huge boost to the project, currently awaiting the results of the government’s carbon capture and storage cluster sequencing work.
Phil Kirk, president and chief executive at Harbour Energy, said: “The OGA’s decision to grant Harbour Energy a carbon storage licence is great news for the Humber and for the V Net Zero Humber Cluster. It is an essential milestone which comes at an exciting time for the project as we seek to remove more than 50 per cent of existing industrial emissions in the Humber region.
“The V Net Zero Humber Cluster will create and support an average of 6,000 construction jobs between 2024 and 2030 and safeguard over 20,000 regional jobs.
“We look forward to the results of BEIS’s cluster sequencing competition and stand ready to deliver the entirety of Government’s carbon sequestration target by 2030 through the deployment of the V Net Zero Humber Cluster.”
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The licence covers the depleted Rotliegend gas fields, Viking and Victor, around 140km from the Lincolnshire coast. The geological formations are roughly 9,000 ft below seabed, while it could also use the Bunter Formation aquifer which could offer additional options to increase the future storage capacity of the project.
Working with Associated British Ports, Immingham is also being looked at as a potential carbon shipping and trading hub – offering solutions to other UK clusters and continental ones too.
Harbour said initial injection rates are planned to rise to 3.6 million tonnes per year, escalating to 11 million tonnes by 2030 – surpassing initial government targets. It would be the equivalent of taking 5.3 million cars off the road – one sixth of those in the UK.
Dr Andy Samuel, OGA chief executive, said: “The OGA is very pleased to award this licence for a project that should make a significant contribution towards the net zero target.
“The energy integration work that the OGA has been leading shows quite clearly that carbon storage, alongside hydrogen and renewables, can play a crucial part in tackling the climate emergency.
“We know that time is short and real action must be taken rapidly. We will work closely with Harbour to ensure that milestones on this project are met, as we do with other projects across the North Sea.”
The licence requires Harbour to show progress by hitting a number of milestones along the way, including reprocessing legacy 3D seismic data.
Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Hands, said: “Carbon capture usage and storage could be crucial in helping the UK to reduce emissions.
“That’s why we are investing £1 billion to help the UK become a world-leader in developing the technology to capture and store harmful carbon emissions. This licence awarded to Harbour Energy is another important contribution in making this a reality.”
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