Spirit Energy to convert depleted North Sea gas fields into “world-leading” carbon capture and storage project

World Oil Staff February 01, 2023

(WO) – Spirit Energy confirmed its plan to convert its depleted South Morecambe and North Morecambe gas fields and Barrow Terminals into a world-class carbon storage cluster. The project will support the UK’s Net Zero goals and support thousands of skilled green jobs in Cumbria and the North West if granted a license by the North Sea Transition Authority.

The carbon capture project will provide a multi-billion dollar investment in the local economy, promoting growth across the region.

“World leading” carbon storage cluster

The cluster will provide a carbon storage solution for the UK’s industrial heartlands and is set to be one of the biggest carbon storage and hydrogen production clusters in the UK. Under current projections, the project has the capacity to store up to one gigaton of CO2 - which equates to roughly three years’ worth of UK CO2 current emissions. This will enable emitters within carbon-intensive industries, including the North West, South Wales, and the Solent, to store their carbon emissions for the long-term. 

Thanks to the location of the site near the Port of Barrow, the project will be able to accept CO2 transported by ship. This allows industrial sites that do not have a direct connection to a CO2 pipeline to access a feasible and realistic solution to deal with their carbon emissions, remain profitable and meet climate change goals.

The project is backed by Spirit Energy’s shareholders — Centrica plc, the majority shareholder, and SWM — and will put the companies at the forefront of decarbonization efforts in the UK.

Chris O’Shea, Chairman of the Board of Spirit Energy and CEO of Centrica plc, said, “This new cluster is a world-leading project that will promote growth, create jobs, and support the UK’s Net Zero ambitions. At Centrica, we are focused on exploring how our assets can become an integral part of the energy transition to help our customers and the business achieve Net Zero. We’re pleased that this innovative project sets us up for long-term success to do just that.”

Transforming the North and South Morecambe gas fields

Spirit Energy is uniquely positioned to transform the gas fields, with 50 years of knowledge and data from operating the South Morecambe and North Morecambe fields. The company will continue to maximize the use of the gas fields until they are fully depleted to ensure continuity of domestic energy supply. The work on carbon storage will take place in tandem with gas production until the facility is predicted to cease production in the second half of the decade.

With the North and South Morecambe gas fields coming to the end of their productive life, the project will also harness the skills and knowledge of more than 300 workers currently based at the site and will provide continued job security with the new multi-billion-pound facility.

Additionally, the two gas fields have the potential to form the core of a future low-carbon hub, thanks to their location in the North West and connectivity in the area. Spirit Energy continues to explore opportunities such as blue hydrogen production, hydrogen power generation, direct air capture, and integration with renewable power generation which could expand the cluster, working in tandem with the carbon storage facility to help realize the area’s full potential.

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