In October 2020, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) announced it had awarded a carbon dioxide (CO₂) appraisal and storage licence (CS licence) to Eni UK Limited (Eni). The CS licence will cover an area located within the Liverpool Bay area of the East Irish Sea. Under the CS licence, we plan to reuse and repurpose depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs (the Hamilton, Hamilton North and Lennox fields) and associated infrastructure, to permanently store CO₂ captured in North West England and North Wales. The application for a CS licence was made by Eni in order to help address the decarbonisation needs of the region. It forms part of a collaborative effort with industrial companies to capture and transport CO₂ from existing industries, along with future hydrogen production sites for fuel switching, heating, power and transportation. HyNet North West will place the region at the forefront of the UK’s journey to net zero emissions by 2050. We expect the project to benefit local communities by creating new job opportunities and assist to develop the economy of the area whilst providing a tangible pathway to energy transition and decarbonisation. In March 2021 the project received £33 million in funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through its Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC) fund. The funding covers around 50% of the investment necessary to finalise ongoing planning studies with the aim of the site becoming operational by 2025.
In May 2021 Eni and Progressive Energy Limited have announced the signing of a framework agreement to further accelerate carbon capture and storage (CCS) within the HyNet North West low carbon cluster project. Under the agreement, Eni will develop and operate both the onshore and offshore transportation and storage of CO₂ in their Liverpool Bay assets, whilst Progressive Energy will lead and coordinate the capture and hydrogen aspects of the project on behalf of Hynet North West, thereby linking together the sources of CO₂ emissions to Eni’s transportation and storage infrastructure.
Moreover, in June 2021 Eni UK and Uniper signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly evaluate decarbonisation initiatives in North Wales. The collaboration, in line with the UK government's ten point plan for green industrial revolution, will investigate the technical and commercial feasibility to work together on future low carbon project initiatives in the region.
In July 2021 Eni UK, as the group lead for the consortium that will develop the HyNet North West integrated project, has submitted the documentation necessary to participate in the Cluster Sequencing for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage Deployment: Phase 1 tender process held by the UK Government. In the event of its successful bid, Eni UK and its partners will gain access to the Carbon Capture Storage Infrastructure Fund (CCFI), with non-repayable financial support of £1bn for the realisation of four projects for the capture and storage of around 10 million tons of CO2 by 2030. The process involves two project streams with different starting time, one by 2025 (Track 1 projects), and one by 2027 (Track 2 projects). The fund is part of a broader investment plan of £12 billion for the Ten Point Plan presented in November 2020 by the British Government to drive the United Kingdom’s energy transition plan and promote the Green Industrial Revolution. In addition to CCS, the plan aims to promote other technologies such as offshore wind, blue and green hydrogen, nuclear power, electric mobility and energy efficiency of private homes.
We have also signed a cooperation agreement in the UK with other partners to join the CCS North Endurance Partnership project (Eni 10%), which will allow for the decarbonization of the Teesside and Humberside industrial districts in the North East of the country. Start-up of activities here is expected in 2027, with an initial storage capacity of 5 Mton/year of CO₂.