Italian energy giant Eni (NYSE: E) has applied for a carbon storage licence for the depleted Hewett field in the Southern North Sea.
In support of the request, the supermajor has also announced the creation of the Bacton Thames Net Zero initiative, aimed at decarbonising vast swathes of the South East.
Should the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) green light Eni’s application, it would pave the way for emissions to be stored in Hewett.
Located about 14 miles off the Norfolk coast, the gas field has been described as an “ideal site” for permanently and safely locking away carbon.
It has a total capacity of about 330 million tonnes, according to Eni.
The carbon capture and storage (CCS) project will divert a large volume of CO2, equivalent to the emissions of over 6 million cars per year, that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
The Italian operator will also be able to leverage its “extensive experience and subsurface knowledge” of Hewett, having operated in the area for over 40 years.
A decommissioning plan for the gas field’s six platforms was submitted in 2020.
Bacton Thames Net Zero initiative
The Bacton Thames Net Zero initiative has been launched to underpin the carbon storage licence application.
It will work to help decarbonise a raft of sectors in the South East, including automotive, ceramics, food, materials, energy and waste disposal.
Eni will lead the initiative by transporting and storing CO2 in Hewett – the CCS project could be up and running as soon as 2027.
Experiences learned during the development of the Liverpool Bay CCS scheme and the wider HyNet cluster will also feed into the scheme.
HyNet, which is being spearheaded by Eni, was one of two successful clusters in the first round of the UK Government’s funding competition.
It is claimed the collaboration of industrial partners under the Bacton Thames Net Zero initiative could “contribute significantly” to the development of a hydrogen economy in the UK.
The group could also become a “game-changer” in addressing the decarbonisation needs of the South East of England, while also supporting the UK’s net zero targets.
The first carbon storage licensing round is currently hotting up, and Synergia Energy announced on Wednesday it had also submitted an application to the NSTA.
The Australian company has made two separate bids, covering depleted gas fields in the UKCS.
If successful they will provide about 100 megatons of CO2 storage capacity to complement the Synergia’s Medway Hub CCS project.
Development of the project would be subject to the company securing the necessary funding.