Shell, SSE Project Wins U.K.’s First Seabed CCS Deal

Britain for the first time granted an option to store carbon dioxide under the seabed, allowing a project owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and SSE Plc in Scotland to progress.

The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed on behalf of the monarchy, said in a statement it agreed to lease a storage area in the depleted Goldeneye gas field in the North Sea to Shell and SSE. The two companies are proposing to add a carbon capture and storage facility to an existing power plant at Peterhead north of Aberdeen.

Peterhead is competing for 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) of funding in a government competition that aims to spur CCS projects, putting the U.K. on track to cut emissions in half by 2027 and strip carbon out of the electricity generation industry. Alstom SA and Drax Group Plc are also competing for the funds.

“This is the first agreement of its kind in the U.K. and will be essential to progressing the Peterhead carbon capture and storage project,” Shell said today in an e-mailed statement. The deal follows 18 months of negotiations, the company said.

Neither the Crown Estate nor Shell disclosed the value of the deal. The Crown Estate owns the storage rights for the U.K. continental shelf. Earlier this year it started a program to award the agreements for lease, which are time-limited options for storage that allow project developers to advance their plans.

The estate said at least seven requests for such options have been made public, and it expects to grant more starting this summer.