North Sea investigated for carbon storage potential
by David Masters
May 29, 2009
Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide produced by European power stations could be stored under the North Sea if new research is successful.
The British and Norwegian governments yesterday signed an agreement to jointly research the potential of using the North Sea for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The joint study will investigate how quickly the sea bed could be prepared for carbon storage, and what the UK, Norway, and other countries will have to do to get it ready.
Lord Phil Hunt, minister of state for energy and climate change, and Norwegian minister Terje Riis-Johansen announced the agreement yesterday at the Climate Change and Technology conference in Bergen, Norway.
They said the aim of the study is to build a carbon capture profile for the whole of the North Sea, and to give a realistic time frame for when CCS will become operationally viable.
“Today’s agreement reaffirms the UK’s leadership in tackling the emissions from fossil fuel power generation,” Lord Hunt said.
“The strength of the UK’s offshore industries means we are well-placed to store that carbon dioxide under the North Sea.”
He added: “The benefits of CCS are not only environmental. There are clear business and job opportunities to be found in green energy technology.”
The study will also consider potential issues in moving CO2 across Europe, and how the flow of CO2 can be managed across borders.
According to estimates by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, CCS schemes have the potential to remove 90% of the CO2 emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.
Last month, energy minister Ed Miliband announced plans to equip all the UK’s coal-fired power stations with CCS technology.
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