Carmichael secures ministerial meeting commitment on Sullom Voe carbon capture potential

23 May 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today secured a commitment from the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero to meet and discuss the potential role of Sullom Voe terminal for North Sea carbon capture. The operator of Sullom Voe, EnQuest, is currently exploring options to adapt the terminal towards Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) usage, pumping carbon dioxide back into disused oil and gas fields.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“The Greensand project in Denmark has proven the concept of CCUS, but we know that the supply chain in this country is fragile. Indeed, if others go ahead and develop CCUS then that is where [the  supply chain] will go to.

“There are companies like EnQuest in Shetland who operate the Sullom Voe terminal there who are keen to do exactly what the Secretary of State is talking about. Would he or the Energy Minister agree to meet with me and the operators of EnQuest to hear what they need to get that exciting project across the line for a final investment decision?”

Responding, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps MP said:

“He is absolutely right but it is in fact the UK who is playing a leading role with the recent £20bn investment into Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage. We have space to store up to 78bn tonnes of carbon under the North Sea – I am told this is the equivalent of over 15.5bn well-fed elephants of space. I would be more than happy to meet the Rt Hon Gentleman to discuss the potential in the field that he talks about.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“It is very encouraging that the Secretary of State is willing to meet on this issue. There is enormous potential in the Sullom Voe site but there is also an enormous amount of further work that will be needed to bring this project to its full potential.

“If we get this right then Sullom Voe can remain at the centre of the UK energy ecosystem for decades to come, and play a key role in delivering Net Zero. I will look forward to making exactly that point to ministers in the meeting.”

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