Energy security secretary Grant Shapps said carbon capture can be a "thriving new industry" for the North Sea. Credit: Chris McAndrew

Humber to house CCUS hub

The Humber has been chosen as the location for a carbon capture, usage and storage cluster, the government has revealed.

A new hub has also been confirmed for North East Scotland, making these the third and fourth CCUS clusters in the UK, joining HyNet in the North West and North Wales – approved in autumn 2021 – and the East Coast Cluster in Teesside.

The government said that together, these four clusters “will build a new thriving carbon capture usage and storage industry, which could support up to 50,000 jobs in the UK by 2030”.

Up to £20bn has been pledged by the government for early deployment of CCUS as it looks to lever in private investment. The government said that the UK has one of the largest potential carbon dioxide storage capacities in Europe, making the North Sea one of the most attractive business environments for CCUS technology.

The carbon capture announcement comes in tandem with a commitment, already being heavily criticised, to a further round of oil and gas licences for the North Sea. The government claims that domestic gas production has around one-quarter the carbon footprint of imported liquified natural gas.

Carbon capture technology is a three-step process involving capturing the carbon dioxide produced by power generation or industrial activity; transporting it and storing it.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “We’re choosing to power up Britain from Britain and invest in crucial industries such as carbon capture and storage, rather than depend on more carbon intensive gas imports from overseas – which will support thousands of skilled jobs, unlock further opportunities for green technologies and grow the economy.”

Energy security secretary Grant Shapps said: “In the wake of Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, our energy security is more important than ever. The North Sea is at the heart of our plan to power up Britain from Britain so that tyrants like Putin can never again use energy as a weapon to blackmail us.

“Today’s commitment to power ahead with new oil and gas licences will drive forward our energy independence and our economy for generations. Protecting critical jobs in every region of the UK, safeguarding energy bills for British families and providing a homegrown fuel for our economy that, for domestic gas production, has around one-quarter the carbon footprint of imported liquified natural gas.

“Our next steps to develop carbon capture and storage, in Scotland and the Humber, will also help to build a thriving new industry for our North Sea that could support as many as 50,000 jobs, as we deliver on our priority of growing the economy.”

Government departments and regulators have been asked to work together and report back by year end on how to make best use of the UK’s offshore resources.

A call for evidence has also been launched by government, seeking views on the evolving context for taxes for the oil and gas sector to “design a long-term fiscal regime which delivers predictability and certainty, supports investment, protects jobs and the country’s energy security”.

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