Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has the potential to play an important role in enabling the UK to decarbonise its energy system. The Wood Review recognised that offshore storage of carbon dioxide could potentially benefit the UK continental shelf, and called for continued collaboration between industry, academia and DECC as the most appropriate means to realise the opportunity.
With the UK continental shelf now being one of the more mature offshore basins in the world, the Wood Review identified a range of key issues which the Government and industry must jointly address to deliver maximum economic recovery (MER) of UK petroleum, stressing the importance of a focused regulator. In accordance with the recommendations of the Wood Review, the Government is working to establish the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), as a body with the objective of delivering MER.
The Government has taken steps to set up the OGA quickly in accordance with the recommendations of the Wood Review, which continues to attract strong industry support. In addition to its role as licencing authority for offshore carbon dioxide storage, the OGA is developing the Sector Strategies called for by the Wood Review. In developing the Technology and Decommissioning Sector Strategies, the OGA is considering the potential for offshore storage of carbon dioxide to help achieve MER.
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques that utilise carbon dioxide may also have a role in increasing hydrocarbon recovery in future. In its Technology Sector Strategy, the OGA will consider the potential contribution that the various EOR technologies, including carbon dioxide EOR, could make towards MER.
The OGA’s key actions are already providing crucial support to the oil and gas industry. Without this, we risk premature decommissioning of the UK continental shelf, loss of stranded assets and loss of the key infrastructure and skills – including those which could ultimately promote the longevity of the industry through carbon dioxide storage projects. This underlines the importance of the OGA focusing upon maximising economic recovery and constructively engaging with the CCS industry.