The government has launched on consultation on its proposals to re-use existing offshore oil and gas assets for carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) projects.
It believes there is potential to reduce the costs of deploying carbon dioxide infrastructure through the re-use of appropriate existing oil and gas infrastructure, as it eliminates the need for upfront capital to build onshore and offshore pipelines among others.
Re-use involves repurposing offshore oil and gas assets that have reached the end of their commercial life for producing hydrocarbons, to be part of a CCUS transport and storage network.
CCUS is a crucial emissions reduction technology that involves the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fuel combustion or industrial processes and could either be used as a resource to create valuable products or services or permanently stored deep underground in geological formations.
BEIS is seeking views on this infrastructure and the associated policy proposals to introduce a discretionary power for the Secretary of State to remove the decommissioning liability from the owners of previous oil and gas assets if they are transferred to CCUS projects.
It is also proposing to change policy and guidance documents to encourage owners and operators of oil and gas assets to propose a period of suspension prior to decommissioning.
The consultation document states: “CCUS is likely to play an essential role in meeting our net zero target. The deployment of CCUS will also be central to supporting the low carbon transformation of the UK’s industrial base and to achieve the Government’s mission, announced in the Industrial Strategy, to establish the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 and at least one low carbon cluster by 2030.
“There is the potential to reduce the costs of deploying carbon dioxide infrastructure through the re-use of appropriate existing oil and gas infrastructure.”
This consultation – open until 16th September 2019 – has been published alongside proposals for a new business model for CCUS and nuclear reactors, which would allow developers to charge customers in advance through their existing bills.
They are part of a string of energy policy proposals published by the government for consultations, that were earmarked for an Energy White paper.