Eleph-antastic storage potential discovered under North Sea: UK Energy Secretary

Grant Shapps has announced a potential carbon storage capacity of 78 billion tonnes in the UK Continental Shelf, equivalent to the weight of 15 billion elephants or 234 million Boeing 747s

The UK Continental Shelf has the capacity to store around 78 billion tonnes of carbon.

Grant Shapps, the Energy Security Secretary, has delivered a keynote speech at the Spectator’s Energy Summit, outlining the UK’s potential to lead the world in carbon capture.

Mr Shapps said: “To give some idea about the potential, I can explain that the UK Continental Shelf could have enough capacity to store about 78 billion tonnes of carbon.

“Now if you’re like me, that doesn’t necessarily mean very much, so I challenged my officials to tell me what that will be in sort of, real money.

“And my officials tell me that broadly, that’s equivalent to the weight of about fifteen billion elephants. Or to put it another way, about 234 million Boeing 747s.”

Shapps added that filling the spaces partially left by oil and gas extraction and storing carbon dioxide permanently and safely under the seabed, could be absolutely massive for the UK.

The Energy Secretary also stated that the UK’s theoretical potential for carbon storage could avoid the cost of today’s emissions trading price and provide a sector in the region of £5 trillion.

He explained that the UK has an opportunity to not only store its own carbon but also get value from storing other countries’ carbon.

It is estimated that carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) could support some 50,000 jobs by 2030.

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