Acorn has received licences from the North Sea Transition Authority for the Acorn East and East Mey CO2 stores, expanding its transport and storage system’s capacity deep beneath the North Sea to around 240 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2.
Awarded its first storage licence in 2018, Acorn will provide the transport and storage network for the Scottish Cluster to capture and permanently store CO2 emissions 100km offshore, in geological formations 2.5km below the seabed.
A spokesperson for Acorn said:
"These extensive areas of subsea acreage are key elements in Acorn’s long-term strategy. The North Sea Transition Authority’s award of these carbon storage licences is welcome news, as we continue to respond to Government’s Track-2 process."
The Acorn Development Partners – lead developer Storegga, technical developer Shell, Harbour Energy, and North Sea Midstream Partners – are currently preparing for detailed commercial negotiations with Government in Track-2.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed Acorn had entered the Track-2 process in July 2023, making it one of four UK Government Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) clusters selected to deliver storage of 20-30 Mt of CO₂ per year by 2030.
Before 2030, the Scottish Cluster could include nine different UK CO2 sources, spanning a variety of high-emitting sectors including industrial sites and power generation plants, as well as new hydrogen generation plant technology. Primary early sources of CO2 include: two of the gas terminals at the St Fergus Gas Complex; SSE and Equinor’s Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station; a new blue hydrogen plant supplying INEOS and Petroineos sites at Grangemouth; and ExxonMobil and Shell’s facilities at Mossmorran.
Peterhead Port provides an additional opportunity for shipped emissions – increasing domestic reach and opportunities for international emitters, such as European and other international emitters, to utilise UK storage, further reducing costs for UK emitters.
The Scottish Cluster can help enable a just transition, delivering a sustainable future for hard-to-abate sectors, protecting jobs, supporting communities and creating value adding activity for Scotland and the UK.
The Acorn Project and Partners
Storegga, Shell, Harbour Energy and North Sea Midstream Partners (“NSMP”) are partners in the Acorn Project.
Acorn is expected to store at least 5Mt/yr of CO₂ by 2030. Acorn is specifically designed to service multiple emitters around Scotland, the UK and Europe. As such, it can rapidly scale up to meet expected demand.
The Acorn CCS project repurposes existing gas pipelines with ready access to world class CO2 storage, to quickly establish an essential CO2 transportation and storage hub in north-east Scotland, which can be rapidly scaled up to support the deployment of a host of low carbon technologies.