Early investment could see UK’s carbon capture sector worth £100bn by 2050
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The UK’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) sector could be worth £100bn to the economy by 2050, according to an Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) report.
With the UK estimated to have enough capacity to hold two centuries’ worth of emissions, the report calls for swift action to make sure government’s net zero drive benefits UK jobs and economy.
It also finds that supply chain companies in the UK offshore oil and gas sector are in a “prime position” to win CCS work, but only if urgent action is taken to foster a domestic industry.
CCS has been recognised as a critical technology to help energy-intensive sectors, such as cement and power generation, meet their net zero goals. The UK’s Net Zero Strategy estimates that around 50m tonnes a year will need to be captured by 2035.
The report, commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), finds that offshore oil and gas supply chain companies already have some capabilities in areas including plant design and engineering, plant fabrication, and construction.
It suggests a range of actions for government and industry, including the need for taxpayer support through early-stage funding and additional licensing rounds.
It estimates that the UK has a total storage capacity of 78 gigatons, one of the largest in Europe, but the domestic industry is at risk of losing it to more attractive opportunities elsewhere in the world if it does not secure a first-mover advantage.
Securing this work in the UK could particularly benefit communities in Aberdeen, Inverness, Liverpool, North Wales, East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Teesside, where the existing offshore energy industry is well-placed to expand into new sectors, including CCS.
OEUK supply chain and operations director Katy Heidenreich said: “Carbon capture and storage is going to be a key tool in our fight against climate change. It offers a huge opportunity for the UK offshore energy supply chain to help energy intensive industries cut emissions.
“If we get this right, it could unlock £100bn of work for UK manufacturing employers by 2050. This will support UK jobs, cut emissions, boost the economy and develop skills which can be exported globally.
“Lots of progress has been made, but without urgent action the UK will miss out on the opportunity to secure a leadership position in this exciting new sector.
“Our report sets out how we will continue to work with government to seize a first-mover advantage, benefitting the economy, jobs and local communities while achieving our net zero goals.”
A report from Imperial College London recently found that governments routinely overestimate the amount of carbon that has been sequestered from carbon capture efforts.
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