New report says North Sea CO2 storage resource can support EU low-carbon economy

Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS), the largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) research group in the U.K., launched a report today at a gathering of European Union politicians and policy makers in Brussels. The report claims that Europe can meet its climate change targets and achieve a low-carbon economy by unlocking the North Sea’s huge potential as a shared CO2 storage resource. The report’s launch comes ahead of a European Parliament debate on the future of EU CCS policy and one week after EU climate change ministers set their vision for a low-carbon economy.

The report recommends a combination of practical actions and policy incentives for the next five years. If taken, these efforts will validate gigatons of CO2 storage capacity needed by Europe’s power and industry sectors, and build a strong business case for attracting investment in the CCS industry. In particular, the report urges governments around the North Sea to develop a shared CO2 storage infrastructure.

The report’s five-year action framework drew on the results of a conference of leading European CCS experts held in Edinburgh in September.

The report’s release coincides with a meeting of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, which is debating proposals urging member states to revitalize and strengthen their support for CCS. These include an EU-wide target to capture and store 10 million tons of CO2 each year by 2020, and undertaking projects to validate storage sites—supported by a robust mechanism for ensuring CO2 clean-up at power plants and industrial facilities, such as a CCS certificates on hydrocarbon production or imports.

 “The deployment of CCS on industrial CO2 sources and power generation is essential if Europe is to meet its long-term climate change objectives, retain jobs and improve low-carbon competitiveness. But CCS is impossible without the availability of CO2 storage. The recommendations set out in our report identify how Europe can unlock the North Sea as a shared CO2 storage resource,” said Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS director.

“We already know that the offshore geography of the Central North Sea means CCS offers huge economic potential for Scotland. This report highlights how the scale of this extends across Europe. And, this potential, coupled with our existing oil and gas capabilities, ready supply chain and existing infrastructure means there is a real opportunity for Scotland to be at the forefront of developing CCS,” said Chris Bryceland, Scottish Enterprise.

Also today, energy ministers from around the world will meet in Washington, D.C., for the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum to consider the role of CCS in addressing climate change.

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