Royal Dutch Shell plc is joining a project to build what could be one of the U.K.’s first large-scale carbon capture and hydrogen hubs as the oil major refocuses toward cleaner energy and slims down its traditional business.
Shell will team up with the U.K.’s biggest independent oil and gas producer Harbour Energy plc, and the project’s developer Storegga Geotechnologies Ltd, a unit of the latter said Friday. The companies will be equal partners in the Acorn venture, it said, without disclosing potential investments from them.
The deal is the latest in a string of low-carbon ventures announced by Big Oil over the past year. The Anglo-Dutch major, which seeks to have access to an additional 25 million tonnes a year of carbon capture and storage capacity by 2035, is developing large-scale projects in Australia and Norway, and a facility in Canada already capturing one million tonnes annually.
Acorn is on course to be the U.K.’s first, cost-efficient and scalable CCS, according to Storegga. It is expected to be storing at least five million tonnes a year of carbon dioxide by 2030, half the emissions set out in the U.K. government’s targets.
Based in North East Scotland, Acorn CCS can re-purpose existing natural gas pipelines to take CO2, with the first phase operational by the mid 2020s, according to the project’s website. The Acorn hydrogen plant could be online in 2025.
Total SE had announced interest in the project in 2018, but earlier this week Acorn said the French major had decided to step down “as part of its portfolio management strategy.”
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