Ango-Dutch oil company Shell and National Grid, the owner and operator of the UK’s gas pipeline and electricity networks, have joined the CO2 capture and storage (CCS) consortium in the UK led by IBERDROLA’s Scottish subsidiary. The consortium also includes Norwegian company Aker Clean Carbon, a specialist in CO2 removal.
This consortium, set up to deliver a commercial-size CCS system operating from a coal-fired power station by 2014 as a means of fighting climate change, has been shortlisted by the UK government in its tender for the best technology available in this field.
ScottishPower CEO Nick Horler said: “I am delighted to welcome Shell and National Grid to the team. Both of these companies will bring specialist knowledge, expertise and opportunities for growth in the development of this cutting-edge technology. For the consortium the two new companies represent a ‘perfect fit’ as it strives to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% from its power plant at Longannet in Scotland.”
Shell is a global leader in exploration and production of oil and gas and is already taking part in a variety of projects to capture and geologically store CCS - this makes the company ideally placed to be part of the IBERDROLA Scottish subsidiary's CCS consortium. Meanwhile, National Grid is among other things the owner and operator of the UK’s gas pipeline system and has expertise in high-pressure pipelines.
Mr Horler added: “For ScottishPower, the fact that a company of the size and scope of Shell has chosen to join our carbon capture consortium is a considerable coup and a significant boost to our bid. The addition of Shell and National Grid to an already first-class team represents an even greater chance of developing a technology that will be vital in tackling climate change.”
The ScottishPower CEO stressed that “Shell’s experience of working offshore in the North Sea is clearly critical – not only in terms of the potential for CO2 storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, but because transport and storage of CO2 will demand many of the same engineering and subsurface skills on which the oil and gas industry has depended for many decades.”
He concluded by saying that “I believe the inclusion of National Grid as a non-exclusive partner into the consortium is an indication of how far our plans have advanced, as we have now reached a stage where it’s right to involve the UK’s leading pipeline operator”.
Two leading energy operators
Shell Vice President John Gallagher said: “We are delighted to be joining the ScottishPower-led CCS Consortium. Shell believes CCS is a technology that will be vital to tackling climate change and we believe that at this stage it is essential that we ‘learn by doing’ in order to reduce costs, accelerate technology and ultimately make CCS commercially viable.”
“The core business of the oil and gas industry is the handling of gas and liquids above and below the surface – that makes companies like Shell very well placed to help deliver CCS”, he stated. “The opportunities that exist in Scotland and the North Sea should be maximised wherever possible.”
Finally, Chris Train, National Grid's Director for Network Operations, said: "National Grid's expertise in high pressure gas pipelines makes us the natural partner for CCS projects, and we are delighted to be contributing to the Scottish Power consortium.”
“Bringing together different areas of expertise in this way is key to unlocking the enormous benefits from CCS: reducing emissions while helping to maintain security of supply”, he explained. “The Longannet project also presents a potential opportunity to reuse some of our existing natural gas transmission pipelines in Scotland for CO2 transportation as North Sea gas supplies decline, helping the scheme to a running start.”
IBERDROLA’s Scottish subsidiary is one of the leaders in the UK government’s competition to develop a commercial scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in the UK by 2014. ScottishPower recently (at the end of May) switched on the prototype unit it is developing at its Longannet thermal power station in Fife, Scotland.
This test unit, the first of its kind working on a coal-fired power station in the UK, is capable of processing 1,000m3 of gas emitted per hour at the Longannet plant and will help analyse the effectiveness and behaviour of the chemical process of carbon capture under various conditions. This will aid the consortium within the framework of the government tender.
IBERDROLA, which includes this initiative in its drive for cleaner and more efficient electric power generation technologies, recently announced that it will establish a global Centre of Excellence to develop CCS technology in the UK. In this respect, ScottishPower said it would soon by funding a Chair in Carbon Capture and Storage at the University of Edinburgh, a leading university in CCS research.
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