CCUS Cluster Sequencing Phase 1, Track 1

BEIS announced the much coveted fast-track slot winners on the 1st November 2021 – Hynet in northwest (NW) England and the East Coast Cluster in the northeast (NE).

A simple, but notable differentiation between the two is that the NW project is looking to reuse as much infrastructure as possible (pipelines, depleted gas fields), whereas the NE project is looking to start afresh (new pipelines, saline aquifer). Each therefore has a rather unique set of Key Knowledge Deliverables (KKDs), which will significantly enhance and inform future project decisions.

Whilst more costly, the NE project is looking to transport and inject CO2 in its dense phase from the outset. Whereas the NW project will start with a free flow gas phase, until pressure builds up (it can do this because of previous production from the reservoir). Through this latter approach CAPEX is spread along the project timeline. A drawback however is in overcoming the switch from a gaseous CO2 to dense phase CO2 in the reservoir, which does present flow assurance challenges.

Both BP (NE) and ENI (NW), as respective operators of the Transport and Storage Systems, on behalf of the project stakeholders, each have unique challenges to overcome. Both would however likely concur that the regulatory framework for this new area is key to unlocking the vast potential that CCS has to contribute to deliver Net Zero. Further updates on the CCUS Business models are expected during H1 2022.