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Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 4:25 pm on 10th November 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Worthington Baroness Worthington Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 4:25 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, it is a pleasure to speak to the energy parts of the Infrastructure Bill on Report. We hope that these amendments will introduce a level of co-ordination into government policy, specifically with regard to the use of enhanced oil recovery for the furtherance of extraction of oil and gas reserves from the North Sea—and, in doing so, will join up with a policy on carbon capture and storage and the pursuit of carbon capture and storage. We on these Benches are clear that we must pursue a range of technologies if we are to meet our challenging greenhouse gas targets and, more specifically, if we are to decarbonise both our power sector and, importantly, our industrial sector. When we look at the industrial sector, it seems clear that CCS will have to play a considerable role.

Unfortunately, we have not yet seen the ground being broken on any CCS projects in the UK. We have seen CCS start to operate on a commercial scale in Canada and we will see a plant opening in the US. We are also told that commercial-scale projects are expected to be commissioned in China. Therefore, we have slightly fallen behind the curve in terms of leadership on this. Nevertheless, our geographic advantages in the UK are such that we can be a very fast follower. We can take the great learnings that we are seeing in other parts of the world and apply them here to become a leader in Europe in the application of carbon capture and storage.

We have two projects under consideration: in Peterhead in Scotland, and the White Rose project in the north of England. Both could help to establish a considerable infrastructure that would help CCS to be deployed in other sectors and at other power stations. In the creation of this infrastructure it is likely that we will see enhanced oil recovery playing a part, particularly in the Scottish project. The purpose of these amendments is to probe the Government on the degree to which CCS and enhanced oil recovery will be incorporated in this new approach to getting economic advantage and economic development in the North Sea. We understand that the Government have tabled amendments with a view to establishing a new regulatory body, following on from the recommendations of the Wood review, which mentioned CCS and EOR specifically. Recommendation 4 states:

“The new Regulator should work with Industry to develop and implement strategies”,

which include looking at CCS and enhanced oil recovery. Unfortunately, as tabled, there is no explicit reference to those strategies in the clauses that we are here to debate this afternoon. My two amendments seek to address that. I look forward to the response of the noble Baroness. I beg to move.