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Shell Venture Drills U.K. Site to Access CO2 Storage

National Grid Plc and an institute backed by BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc will start drilling at an offshore site in northern England envisioned as a storage area for carbon dioxide siphoned away from industry.

The project will drill two wells in the seabed to assess whether the CO2 can be safely and permanently stored in a layer of porous sandstone rock more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) below the sea floor, National Grid said today in a statement.

The Energy Technologies Institute, which also includes Caterpillar Inc., EON AG and the U.K. government, invested 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) in the venture, according to the statement.

It’s the first drilling assessment at a site formed of underground porous rocks, National Grid said. The CO2, emitted during electricity generation or from industrial processes, can also be stored in aging oil and gas fields.

The site 70 kilometers from the Yorkshire coast is large enough to store CO2 from several sources for decades, according to the statement. The technology called carbon capture and storage, or CCS, involves trapping emissions for permanent storage underground rather than releasing them into the atmosphere.

The U.K. government is encouraging CCS with a 1 billion pound funding competition. It plans to support equipment that gathers and transports emissions from power and industrial plants in “clusters,” such as those in Yorkshire and Humber, near to storage sites in the North Sea.

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