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Industrial Teesside, UK Photo: Shutterstock
CCS could play a crucial role in decarbonising the UK’s major industrial hubs such as Teesside (pictured)

Photo: Shutterstock

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has launched the UK’s first carbon storage licensing round, with 13 areas of potential available.

The carbon storage areas being offered for licensing are located off the coast of Aberdeen, Teesside, Liverpool and Lincolnshire in the Southern North Sea, Central North Sea, Northern North Sea and East Irish Sea. A mixture of saline aquifers and depleted oil and gas field storage opportunities are available.


It is hoped the new areas, alongside the six licences which have been issued previously, will make a significant contribution towards the UK government’s aim of storing 20–30mn tonnes of CO2 by 2030. The NSTA estimates that as many as 100 CO2 stores could be required in order to meet the net zero by 2050 target, and more rounds expected to follow.


The NSTA has launched the carbon storage licensing round in response to ‘unprecedented levels of interest’ from companies eager to enter the market. The areas on offer have a combination of attributes such as the right geological conditions, proximity to existing infrastructure which may be able to be re-purposed, and links to major UK industrial hubs such as Teesside and Humberside which are looking to carbon capture and storage (CCS) to help meet their decarbonisation goals.


In choosing suitable areas to make available for licensing, the NSTA has said it fully considered issues including co-location with offshore wind (whether there are any known challenges and mitigations around existing or future offshore wind developments), environmental issues, potential overlaps with existing or future petroleum licences, and other activities to ensure key technologies can all be taken forward.


There are currently six carbon storage licences on the UK Continental Shelf which could meet up to one-fifth of the UK’s storage needs if they reach their maximum potential of up to 40mn t/y injection rates by the mid-2030s. Whilst the capacity estimates of the areas offered in this round carry some uncertainty at this stage, they have the potential to make a very significant contribution to decarbonisation of the UK, says the NSTA.


The deadline for applications is 13 September 2022. Any new licences are expected to be awarded in early 2023.