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    North Sea accord paves way for subsea CO2 storage

    News // December 1, 2005

    An agreement which could see carbon emissions stored in depleted oil fields in the North sea was signed yesterday by UK Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks and the Norwegian Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen. 

    The two Ministers pledged to undertake a bilateral effort to explore areas of cooperation to encourage injection and permanent storage of CO2 beneath the North sea.

    Known as carbon sequestration, the technology can be used to separate CO2 from coal and gas firing power stations, which is then pumped into depleted oil fields via disused pipelines.

    Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks said:“This technology could cut the level of CO2 emissions from power stations by up to 90 per cent. It is estimated that we have the capacity under the UK Continental Shelf to store our total carbon emissions for decades to come. The UK, Norway and surrounding north sea rim countries have tremendous potential for injection and permanent storage of CO2 waste which will go a long way to help us cut harmful emissions." 

    “Norway has already taken a significant world lead in offshore geological storage of CO2 with the Sleipner project, building up considerable knowledge and experience in this field.  We, along with other countries around the North Sea Basin can learn from their work. Here in the UK, I welcome the BP/Scottish and Southern Energy Peterhead project in the North Sea which will demonstrate the full carbon capture and storage process."

    “It is interesting to note that while the North Sea’s resources have provided us with significant benefits over recent decades, it now also has the potential to provide a solution to help mitigate the harmful effects of carbon emissions. Which is why Minister Enoksen and I are pleased to announce a new task force made up of companies and public organisations from countries bordering the North sea which will look at the regulatory issues and management of carbon sequestration in the region."  

    “The Energy review which was announced yesterday will consider the policy options to ensure that the UK is on track to meet the goals of the Energy White paper in the medium and long term - for 2010 and beyond. Where necessary it will refine existing policies to ensure these aims are met. Within the context of this review, Carbon Capture and Storage is increasingly becoming a serious longer-term option.” 

    The Carbon Abatement Technology Strategy, announced by Malcolm Wicks in June this year, recognised that incentives may be needed to encourage the development of these technologies. 

    The Climate Change Programme Review has been looking at the need for incentives and will comment on these when it is published in the near future.  It is expected that the Energy Review will also look in further detail at the need and scope of such incentives.


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