Acorn project signs MoU with Uniper to ship and store captured CO2
14 December 2023 – The Acorn Partners – Storegga, Shell U.K Limited (“Shell”), Harbour Energy and North Sea Midstream Partners (“NSMP”) are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Uniper, an international energy company operating over 22GW of generation capacity in Europe and one of the world’s largest power producers.
Uniper is developing proposals to retrofit post-combustion carbon capture technology on up to three units at their Grain power station, a 1,326MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant, located in the South East of England, on the Isle of Grain. The project could potentially capture over two million tonnes of CO2 per year.
Acorn and Uniper have entered into the MoU to jointly develop a potential solution to ship captured CO2 from the Isle of Grain to Peterhead Port in the North East of Scotland and onto the Acorn transportation and storage (T&S) network, which can then pipe the CO2 to permanent storage 2.5Km below the seabed in the North Sea using re-purposed gas pipelines.
As part of their plans, Uniper are seeking to use existing jetty infrastructure near Grain to load the ships with captured CO2 and ship it from Kent to Scotland.
The joint project would contribute to the UK Government’s CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage) Cluster Sequencing Track-2 ambitions. To do this, Uniper and Acorn plan to collaborate to develop technical, commercial, and regulatory proposals to enable shipment of CO2 within this timeframe.
Mike Lockett, Uniper UK Country Chairman and Group Chief Commercial Officer Power:
“Uniper is investing significantly to decarbonise our existing power stations, to meet our ambitious target to generate more than 80 per cent of our installed power capacity from carbon-free sources by 2030. We are exploring a range of options to transform our gas-fired generation to achieve this, from alternative fuels, such as hydrogen or biofuels, to post combustion carbon capture.
Retrofitting carbon capture technology at Grain - one of the most efficient gas plants in our fleet, will remove millions of tonnes of CO2 during the electricity generation process, whilst still providing flexible and reliable power to the UK’s energy system. The MoU Uniper has signed with the Acorn project partners, is a significant step in helping to identify a solution to ship captured CO2 for permanent offshore storage. This is also an important step for the many other emitters across the UK who want and need to decarbonise their essential industrial processes, but require a flexible CO2 transport and storage solution to achieve this.”
Steve Murphy, Chief Commercial Officer, Storegga on behalf of Acorn said:
“Acorn, as part of the Scottish Cluster, has the potential to help decarbonise not only Scotland, but the UK and beyond. This MoU with Uniper is a great example of how our large storage capacity and transport network can decarbonise beyond Scotland, while creating and safeguarding jobs and helping to build a low carbon economy across the UK.”
The Acorn T&S system, at the heart of the Scottish Cluster, is critical to decarbonising Scottish industry. It provides a path to net zero and opens up significant new value creating activity for Scotland and the rest of the UK. In 2021 the UK government awarded the Scottish Cluster reserve status in the first track of its Cluster Sequencing competition. In July 2023, Acorn was recognised as one of two T&S systems best placed to meet the Track 2 criteria and support the delivery of the UK Government’s commitment to capture and store 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
Acorn has received match funding from the UK and Scottish Governments and has benefited from two rounds of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding from the European Commission.
Background: Supporting decarbonisation, a just transition, and economic growth
The Scottish Cluster uses one of the UK’s most mature and best understood CO2 storage sites – the Acorn store in the UKCS North Sea, off St Fergus.
By repurposing existing oil and gas infrastructure, it minimises physical development work, reduces cost and project delivery risk, and ensures the best value is achieved for the public purse, and private investors.
Peterhead Port provides an additional opportunity for shipped emissions – increasing domestic reach and opportunities for European and other international emitters, to utilise UK storage and thereby reducing costs for UK emitters.
The Scottish Cluster helps enable a just transition, delivering a sustainable future for hard-to-abate sectors, protecting jobs, supporting communities and will create new value adding activity for Scotland and the UK.
Before 2030, the Scottish Cluster could include nine different UK CO2 sources, spanning a variety of high-emitting sectors including industrial sites and power generation plants, as well as new hydrogen generation plant. Primary early sources of CO2 will include: Two of the gas terminals at the St Fergus Gas Complex; SSE and Equinor’s Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station; and ExxonMobil and Shell’s facilities at Mossmorran.
The Cluster involves collaboration by global industrial companies using innovative decarbonisation technologies to generate cleaner energy/power generation and to capture and permanently store CO2 emissions, using the Acorn T&S.
Acorn: the catalyst for industrial decarbonisation in Scotland and beyond
Acorn is a joint venture between Storegga, Shell UK, Harbour Energy and North Sea Midstream Partners.
Acorn has a major role to play in helping Scotland and the rest of the UK meet their Net Zero commitments, allowing industry to decarbonise, while protecting and creating jobs. Legacy oil and gas infrastructure will be used to transport captured CO2 emissions to permanent geological storage 2.5 kilometres under the North Sea. The CO2 will come from the Scottish Cluster, a collection of industrial, power and hydrogen businesses in Scotland’s Central Belt and North East.
Acorn is also working to develop a blue hydrogen production facility at the St Fergus gas terminal, while its proximity to Peterhead Port could support broader domestic and international decarbonisation, with CO2 being shipped into a dedicated terminal before onward transfer to the Acorn storage facility.
For more information on Acorn, contact email@example.com
Storegga Limited: an independent, UK-based decarbonisation development business. It develops early-stage carbon capture and storage and hydrogen projects in the UK and internationally to contribute to achieving net zero targets. The company has a presence in the UK and US, with its head office in London. Storegga is a private company backed by GIC, Macquarie Group, Mitsui & Co. Ltd., M&G Investments, and Snam.
Storegga is the Lead Developer of the whole Acorn project.
For more information on Storegga and its activities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A global group of energy and petrochemical companies with more than 80,000 employees in more than 70 countries, with considerable global expertise and experience in the delivery of large scale, complex engineering projects using advanced technologies and an innovative approach to help build a sustainable energy future. Shell is currently involved in range of carbon capture and storage projects around the world.
Shell is the Technical Developer of the Acorn T&S and Hydrogen projects.
For more information on Shell’s CCS activities please contact +44 20 7934 5550.
Harbour Energy is the largest London-listed independent oil and gas company. We have a leading position in the UK as well as interests in Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico and Norway. Our strategy is to continue to build a global, diversified oil and gas company focused on safe and responsible operations, value creation and shareholder returns. Across our operations we are committed to achieving our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 with respect to our scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. In addition, we are well positioned to use our existing skills and infrastructure to help deliver the UK’s CCS goals and more broadly the country’s emissions reduction targets.
Adam Shortman, +44 7756 743767
North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP)
A leading independent integrated midstream infrastructure owner, investor and operator offering gas transportation and processing services to North Sea shippers and is dedicated to the security of gas supply and energy transition. NSMP is responsible for delivering up to 19% of the daily UK gas supply into the NTS. NSMP’s vision is to be the most successful, UK based independent midstream company, integral to the successful achievement of a net zero future.
Düsseldorf-based Uniper is an international energy company with activities in more than 40 countries. The company and its roughly 7,000 employees make an important contribution to supply security in Europe, particularly in its core markets of Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Uniper’s operations encompass power generation in Europe, global energy trading, and a broad gas portfolio. Uniper procures gas—including liquefied natural gas (LNG)—and other energy sources on global markets. The company owns and operates gas storage facilities with a total capacity of more than 7 billion cubic meters.
Uniper intends to be completely carbon-neutral by 2040. Uniper aims for its installed power generating capacity to be more than 80% zero-carbon by 2030. To achieve this, the company is transforming its power plants and facilities and investing in flexible, dispatchable power generating units. Uniper is already one of Europe’s largest operators of hydropower plants and is helping further expand solar and wind power, which are essential for a more sustainable and secure future. The company is progressively expanding its gas portfolio to include green gases like hydrogen and biomethane and aims to convert to these gases over the long term.
Uniper is a hydrogen pioneer, is active worldwide along the entire hydrogen value chain, and is conducting projects to make hydrogen a mainstay of the energy supply.
In the UK, Uniper owns and operates a flexible generation portfolio of seven power stations, a fast-cycle gas storage facility and two high pressure gas pipelines, from Theddlethorpe to Killingholme and from Blyborough to Cottam. We also have significant long-term regasification capacity at the Grain LNG terminal in Kent, to convert LNG back to natural gas.