The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded a carbon dioxide appraisal and storage licence to Eni UK.
The six-year licence will cover part of the Liverpool Bay area of the East Irish Sea.
It may lead to a subsequent application to the OGA for a storage permit and the associated approvals required prior to any CO2 storage operations commencing.
Eni plans to reuse and repurpose the depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs of the Hamilton, Hamilton North and Lennox fields to permanently store CO2 captured in NW England and N Wales.
OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: “The OGA is very pleased to award this licence for what we hope will be a highly successful project.
“The Energy Integration work we’ve been leading shows that the combination of various energy systems, including carbon capture and hydrogen, can make a significant contribution to the UK’s net zero 2050 target.
“HyNet is an exciting example of energy integration in action – re-using existing infrastructure and depleted reservoirs for significant carbon storage, coupled with hydrogen generation for a variety of innovative uses.”
Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: “I’m delighted and proud to announce the award of the licence CS004 for carbon storage in the UK, first licence of its kind for Eni.
“This is a vitally important project for Eni and represents a milestone for the 2050 Net Zero ambitions of the UK and a fundamental pillar for the strategy of energy transition and decarbonisation that Eni is strongly committed to.”