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Carbon Storage, 33rd Oil & Gas Round, INTOG Offshore Wind, Gas Storage - UK energy future

To enable diversity and security of energy supply, the UK government are inviting applications for licensing opportunities in offshore wind, oil & gas, carbon capture and gas storage. Our latest YouTube video describes the first Carbon Storage licence Round, the oil & gas 33rd licence round, two offshore wind licence rounds and the Bains & Rough gas storage applications.

The North Sea Transition Authority has announced 13 offshore areas open for carbon storage licence applications. These are located in the Southern North Sea (8), Northern North Sea (2), Central North Sea (2) & Irish Sea (1). We show each area and demonstrate a workflow to rapidly screen these opportunities. All application areas lie out with current and planned wind farms. Many areas are coincident with active oil and gas licence areas. How will each energy source be prioritised we ask?

Offshore wind has already featured in Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind licence round (download a free copy of our infographic here: and the INTOG licensing round is due to be announced imminently. Applications are sought from oil & gas platform operators for floating wind proposals to offset the current energy usage. Given the intermittency of wind power and the 24/7 operational requirements for offshore platforms, it is likely existing power sources will remain and be redundant when the wind blows. All this will be factored into the project economic assessment. Examples are shown from Ruby/Riffgat (Netherlands/Germany) and Hywind Tampen (Norway).

The 33rd Licensing Round for oil & gas will be announced in the next few months. Details from our TROVE databases reveal there are 435 unsanctioned discoveries on the UKCS with 235 In open acreage. Using a reserves cut-off which excludes all discoveries less than 10 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) we recognise 47 opportunities, with over 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent reserves potential. The average field size is over 25 mmboe.

Our workflow again shows how all these opportunities can be rapidly screened to high-grade the best opportunities for each applicant.

Finally, there are two gas storage applications in process. The Rough field had ceased gas storage operations and was in blowdown mode. With soaring gas prices, Centrica Storage have obviously re-evaluated (or were they asked to re-evaluate?) the economics of storing gas to offset peak winter demand. The depleted Bains field lies east of Spirit Energy’s Morecambe field in open acreage. The Morecambe field is one of the areas in the Carbon Storage licensing round so there could be a future scenario where there is both carbon dioxide capture and methane storage in close proximity. These are separate geologic structures – so technically there is no technical issue. The question of prioritisation and precedence will have to be addressed by the regulator and made clear to applicants.

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