Projects of Common Interest
Projects of Common Interest: Public Consultation
Arising from the concept of regional cooperation set out in Europe’s Energy Union vision and the strong potential for CCS hub and cluster developments in Europe, the European Commission (EC) is now seeking to promote the development of future infrastructure requirements for CCS. The EC has launched a Cross-Border Carbon Dioxide Transport consultation – a process to gather opinion regarding support for the development of CO2 infrastructure that will be integral to future carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in the region.
The EC has, since 2013, operated a scheme to enable the development of key energy infrastructure projects - known as projects of common interest (PCIs) – designed to optimise network development at the European level for the period up to 2020 and beyond, to implement the Energy Union, and to meet the EU's energy policy objectives of competitiveness, sustainability and security of energy supply. As part of this, the Union has to prepare infrastructure for further decarbonisation of its energy system in the longer term towards 2050. Every two years the EC announces the Union’s list of PCI projects that can benefit from accelerated permitting procedures and improved regulatory conditions and may be eligible for financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). A total budget of €5.35 billion has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure under the CEF from 2014-20, helping PCIs to get implemented faster and making them more attractive to investors.
The approval process for the third list of PCIs is ongoing, with a budget of €800 million in CEF grants set aside in the year 2017 for different thematic priorities. For the first time since the PCIs scheme started, the 2017 list of proposed PCIs includes ‘Cross-Border Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure’ – a thematic area focused on the development of CO2 transportation networks.
Four proposed projects on Cross-Border Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure
In April 2017, four projects from the Cross-Border Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure category were submitted for CEF funding:
- CO2 SAPLING Transport Infrastructure Project
- Teeside CO2 Hub
- Rotterdam Nucleus
- CO2 cross border transport connections between a) emission sources in the Teesside Industrial Cluster; b) the Eemshaven area in The Netherlands and a storage site on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).
These proposed projects involve CO2 crossing national borders and connecting multiple countries bordering the North Sea Basin. Each of the projects identify infrastructure concepts that could form the first parts of a network of multiple CO2 emitters across Europe, which share access to strategically-sized transport and storage infrastructure. Project descriptions follow below.
Name: CO2 SAPLING (CO2 Shipping And PipeLine Infrastructure and North Sea ReGeneration)
Project Lead: Pale Blue Dot (United Kingdom - UK)
Other Participants: Scottish CCS (UK), CO2DeepStore (UK), Costain (UK), Summit Power (UK), Bellona (Norway), University of Liverpool (UK), Radboud University (Netherlands)
Countries: UK, Netherlands, Norway
Anticipated Operational Start Date: First phase planned for 2022, with following phases implemented by 2030
Transport Infrastructure: Infrastructure re-use, new pipelines and new shipping
The CO2 Sapling project is a CO2 transportation infrastructure project that grows from and builds out the Acorn full chain Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project. The Acorn CCS project is a full chain industrial CCS project that has recently been awarded Horizon2020 funding under the ACT (Accelerating CCS Technologies) Programme.
Whilst the proposed CO2 infrastructure network is seeded with existing oil and gas pipeline systems in North East Scotland, the subsequent build out connects regional, national and international emissions centres to support the deep decarbonisation of the North Sea Basin area. The transportation network seeks to make significant early progress through the re-purposing and re-use of existing assets wherever possible. It is further augmented by CO2 shipping export and import facilities and new pipelines. This enables the more expensive capital investments to be reserved until a significant proportion of the CO2 landscape and business model is de-risked. They key component in the network is the St Fergus gas processing plant (in the North East of Scotland), which through the CO2 Sapling plan will become a strategic European CO2 sequestration hub.
In addition to the support to developing key European CO2 transportation infrastructure, the initiative can also provide a model and template for similar hubs elsewhere in Europe where ageing petroleum assets may be suitable for re-use, thereby delivering significant transnational benefits.
Using existing North Sea gas pipelines that are no longer required for petroleum as a dedicated transportation infrastructure for captured CO2 will significantly decrease the financial cost and the investment risk for the Acorn CCS project and other CCS projects attached to the network. Many of the pipeline systems are already in place and do not require the typical large investment decisions associated with new pipelay projects. Furthermore, re-purposing these pipelines will minimise any further disruptions to the seabed or beach crossings, which are major considerations for new pipelines.
Name: Teesside CO2 Hub
Project Lead: Tees Valley Combined Authority (UK)
Other Participants: German Government, Belgian Government and the Port of Rotterdam
Countries: UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany
Anticipated Operational Start Date: 2025
Transport Infrastructure: Development of existing CO2 shipping terminal, new pipelines and new shipping
The Teesside CO2 Hub project builds on the Teesside Collective CCS plans. Teesside, in the North East of England, is one of the UK’s largest energy intensive locations. It is responsible for 60% of the UK’s energy intensive industry, produces 50% of the UK’s hydrogen, and processes up to 20% of the UK’s gas. It is home to the UK’s largest Steam Methane Reformer, the UK’s largest fertiliser plant, one of Europe’s largest crackers, one of the UK’s largest bioethanol plants, and the UK’s largest biodiesel plant. Carbon dioxide is currently piped from the Teesside industrial sites to greenhouses to grow tomatoes, and exported by road and ship across Europe for use in industries such as food and drink.
For many years, the area has been planning a CCS network to collect CO2 from industrial companies located in the cluster, and in 2015 Teesside published its Blueprint, which sets out the technical design and costing of a shared CO2 pipe network which would collect CO2 from sites across Teesside, then transport it via pipe offshore to one of two storage locations under the North Sea.
The Teesside scheme represents one of the most cost effective decarbonisation options for the UK economy, and would create one of Europe’s lowest carbon industrial sites, generating and safeguarding jobs in the process.
The UK has a number of large, well characterised CO2 stores, which are not only capable of storing UK generated CO2, but also European CO2. The Teesside CO2 Hub would build on the planned CCS infrastructure in Teesside by developing and expanding the existing CO2 shipping terminal, importing CO2 from around the North Sea, injecting it into a pipe on Teesside for offshore pipe transport to a large UK store. The initiative also examines the shipping of CO2 from the industrial sites along the Rhine and Antwerp to Teesside, and provides a storage option for large amounts of European CO2, helping to decarbonise some of the most energy intensive clusters in Europe.
Name: Rotterdam Nucleus
Project Lead: Port of Rotterdam Authority (Netherlands)
Other Participants: TNO, TAQA, Progressive Energy, Swift Exploration, VOPAK, ROAD CCS Project, OCAP
Countries: Netherlands, UK
Anticipated Operational Start Date 2023
Transport infrastructure: Pipelines
The Rotterdam Nucleus is an initiative that proposes a modular CO2 transport infrastructure that will connect the Rotterdam Harbour to storage reservoirs in the Dutch and UK sections of the North Sea. At full-scale, this project has the potential to decarbonise large portions of industrial emissions from the Rotterdam Harbour, but also from the ports of Antwerp in Belgium and the industrial region of North Rhine Westphalia in Germany.
This project has the potential to unlock 'stranded' gas reserves in the North Sea, with part of the value derived from gas exploitation being used to offset the PCI infrastructure investment costs. The emission reduction potential of this initiative is expected to be around or over 100 Mt of CO2 over a 20-year period. The business case can be completed with 30-40% of investment costs provided by Connecting Europe Facility.
Name: CO2 Cross Border Transport Connections project
Project Lead: Statoil ASA (Norway)
Other Participants: The Teesside Collective (UK), Vattenfall/ Nuon's Magnum Project (Netherlands)
Countries: Norway, Netherlands, UK
Transport infrastructure: New shipping infrastructure
The CO2 Cross Border Transport Connections project will investigate the potential to move emission sources from the UK’s Teesside industrial cluster and the Eemshaven area in the Netherlands, to a storage site on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). This initiative is based on the development of a large storage site as part of the Norwegian CCS project, CCS studies by the Teesside Collective in the UK and the project to convert Vattenfall/Nuon's Magnum gas fired power station in the Netherlands to hydrogen. The concept is to develop new infrastructure for CO2 transport by ship.
More information on this project can be found in the Members' Portal