Low-carbon hat-trick in the UK

Source: press release, 17 March 2021

Three low-carbon projects linking up across the UK’s southern coast
Three low-carbon projects linking up across the UK’s southern coast (illustration: Equinor)

All three of Equinor’s projects to deliver deep cuts in emissions from industries and support clean growth in the north-east of England have received public funding from UK authorities. With a combination of private and public funding, Equinor and its partners will now progress these projects in order to create the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040.

On 17 March 2021 the UK Government announced the funding awards under the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to three project consortia in which Equinor is directly involved:

  • Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH), a twelve-company partnership to turn the UK’s largest industrial cluster net zero through the stepwise deployment of low carbon hydrogen, carbon capture and negative emissions being delivered at sites across the Humber estuary. The first project is the Equinor-led H2H Saltend low carbon hydrogen facility and a hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline network across Humber industrial sites developed by National Grid Ventures.
  • Net Zero Teesside (NZT), a five-company partnership to decarbonise the Teesside industrial cluster with carbon capture and build a new gas-fired power station with state-of-the art carbon capture technology.
  • Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), a six-company partnership (with ENI, National Grid, Shell, Total and operator bp) to develop offshore carbon dioxide transport and storage infrastructure in the UK North Sea that will serve both ZCH and NZT.

The three successful bids amount to GBP 229 million in private and public funding, with Equinor and its partners contributing more than two-thirds of the total.

“The shared challenge of climate change requires governments, industries and societies to come together. This funding award from the UK authorities shows this working in practice and we are delighted that these three pioneering projects have been successful. Working with our partners and stakeholders, Equinor will continue to apply our capabilities to deliver these projects, so together we can demonstrate the significant value that carbon capture and storage and hydrogen offer to communities and countries in a net zero future,” says Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president for Marketing, Midstream & Processing in Equinor.

The funding awards from UK Research & Innovation and the funding from Equinor and its partners will be used in each project to move through the detailed engineering and design stages and progress to the point where, subject to the development in parallel of supportive UK policy, a final investment decision (FID) on each can be taken.

“The awards are great news for the UK and for Equinor. The Humber and Teesside make up nearly half of the UK’s industrial emissions so, to reach net zero, there is enormous value in tackling emissions at both clusters together. Rolling out carbon capture use and storage and hydrogen across the UK’s industrial clusters supports the Government’s aims for a green recovery and to level-up by safeguarding and creating many high-skilled jobs and will establish the UK as a world leader in hydrogen and low-carbon technologies. As the UK’s leading energy provider, we will continue to work with our partners to progress our projects to final investment decision, engaging locally and nationally to make this happen,” says Grete Tveit, senior vice president for Low Carbon Solutions in Equinor.

In Norway, Equinor and its partners started construction work in January 2021 on Northern Lights, Europe’s first full-scale carbon transportation and storage project, following the Norwegian Parliament’s vote to approve funding in December. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2023 with the first phase operational during 2024.