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North Sea assessed for future carbon capture and storage

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A study of the role of the North Sea in providing storage space under the sea-bed for carbon dioxide from European countries has been commissioned jointly by the UK and Norway. Lord Hunt, minister of state for energy and climate change in the UK, and the Norwegian minister Terje Riis-Johansen, met to agree on a vision for the potential role of the North Sea in the future deployment of CCS in Europe, at the conference on Climate Change and Technology.

The study will look at how quickly the base of the North Sea could be needed for carbon dioxide storage and what the UK, Norway and other countries have to do to get it ready in time. Lord Hunt said: "Today's agreement reaffirms the UK's leadership in tackling the emissions from fossil fuel power generation. Carbon capture and storage has the potential to reduce emissions from coal-fired power stations by around 90%. The strength of the UK's offshore industries means we are well-placed to store that carbon dioxide under the North Sea.

"The benefits of CCS are not only environmental. There are clear business and job opportunities to be found in green energy technology. This study will help assist the governments in Europe to work together to store carbon dioxide safely under the North Sea and to plan the implementation of CCS."

The aim of the study will be to build a profile for the whole of the North Sea, assessing each countries' storage potential and projections of likely volumes and locations of CO2 flows, against a rising price of carbon. This will involve identifying network issues and proposing methods for managing CO2 flows across borders. The study will also consider how the offshore storage business might develop.

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