British MPs have claimed that depleted oil and gas fields in the UK could be used as a store for carbon emissions, helping to boost the country’s green credentials.
Highlighting exhausted oil and gas fields in the North Sea as prime candidates for the idea, the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) suggests nearby nations could capture CO2 emissions from energy power stations and transport them to the fields through pipes.
Carbon capture infographic
According to the committee’s chair Tim Yeo, this proposition could be a revolutionary option for CO2 storage if it is economically viable.
“The key to carbon capture and storage is economics,” he said, before calling the geological landscape under the North Sea “a potential asset to exploit” for the UK.
According to Yeo, if the UK is able to find a way of getting another income stream into the area by accepting carbon emissions from other nations, it could “move forward the date when CCS (carbon capture and storage) in the UK is economically viable”.
Generating more resources
As well as providing a unique way to rid the atmosphere of some of its harmful carbon emissions, this strategy could also help to generate more oil and gas resources from depleted fields.
By forcing CO2 into crevices in the landscape, more gas and oil could be squeezed from the reserves which contain residual trapped hydrocarbons – compensating any drop in oil or gas extraction with activity surrounding carbon storage and transportation.
Saving the environment
As well as potentially boosting the UK’s oil and gas industry, a successful move into CCS could help to save the environment.
According to Yeo, giving energy power stations they technology they need for CCS is “vital” in the fight against climate change and a destabilising natural environment.
The topic has already attracted plenty of interest with the first full-scale CCS enabled power plant soon to open in the USA and the UK’s proposal concerning oil and gas fields in the North Sea being promoted by the Crown Estate who govern our seabed.