A further step towards a net zero vision
Spirit Energy - with the support of majority shareholder Centrica Plc, and Stadtwerke München GmbH (SWM) - has today (18 May) been granted a carbon storage licence by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA). This represents a further step towards their Net Zero vision of repurposing the North and South Morecambe gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
Today’s announcement places the companies at the forefront of the decarbonisation efforts in the UK, with the MNZ (Morecambe Net Zero) Cluster having the potential to be one of the UK’s biggest carbon storage hubs. It will be able to store up to a gigaton of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of three years’ worth of current UK CO₂ emissions. It could initially store above 5MTPA of CO₂, scaling in time to 25MTPA. The MNZ Cluster will be able to accept CO₂ transported by pipeline, ship and rail.
Last month, Spirit Energy submitted a qualifying Expression of Interest for the MNZ Cluster to be considered as part of the Government’s Track 2 CCUS Cluster Sequencing process. The Cluster’s carbon stores will provide long-term access to a sustainable carbon storage solution for the UK’s carbon-intensive industries, helping tackle its emissions while still supporting the many thousands of reliant jobs across the UK.
Chris O’Shea, Chairman of Spirit Energy and CEO of Centrica plc, said: “At Centrica, Net Zero is our business, helping us deliver a decarbonised energy system. I’m delighted we’ve been awarded this licence to move forward our plans for carbon capture and storage. Morecambe Bay has the ability to become a world leading carbon storage facility and could see the creation of thousands of jobs in the North of England. We look forward to progressing plans with our partners to support the UK’s leading Net Zero ambitions and stand ready to invest over £1 billion in this project pending the outcome of the Track 2 process.”
Neil McCulloch, CEO of Spirit Energy, said: “I am extremely pleased and proud that we have been granted a licence by the NSTA to repurpose the depleted North and South Morecambe gas fields into a world-leading carbon storage hub. This is an important step forward in developing our project which will provide an effective way for emitters to tackle their carbon emissions and meet Net Zero targets.”
Spirit Energy has ambitions for the two gas fields to form the core of a green super-hub. This would explore opportunities like direct air capture, the manufacture of blue hydrogen, the production of green hydrogen, the integration of other renewable power generation facilities, and energy storage - all of which would put Barrow and the North West on the map as a centre for low-carbon innovation.”
About Spirit Energy
We are a pioneering energy company with two shareholders: Centrica plc (69%), and Stadtwerke München GmbH SWM (31%). We operate in the UK and the Netherlands, with a 700-strong team, and 25 producing field interests.
Our portfolio and ambitions span the breadth of the energy transition. We’re continuing to break new ground, collaborating, and thinking differently. Our strategy is focused on: safely delivering production from our existing assets; meeting and de-risking our decommissioning obligations and pursuing strategic energy transition opportunities from our existing assets.
We’re proud of our heritage. With more than 30 years of production, we’re maximising the potential of our existing assets and substantial gas reserves in the UK and Netherlands. Above all, we live by our commitment to safety in everything we do. Our portfolio is predominantly gas (96%), providing vital, primary energy to fuel our homes and businesses in the UK and Europe.