Tests show UK North Sea field fit for carbon storage

LONDON Wed Aug 7, 2013 8:26am EDT

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LONDON Aug 7 (Reuters) - A North Sea drilling site that failed to find gas is suitable to store carbon, tests carried out by Britain's National Grid showed.

The company plans to offer its offshore storage site and pipeline to carbon-capture and storage (CCS) projects in the Yorkshire region that plan to capture carbon from polluting power plants.

National Grid said saline aquifer 5/42, where oil major BP was drilling for gas, can be used to store around 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

"Early indications are that the undersea site 65 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast is viable for carbon dioxide storage," the company said in a statement.

The aquifer could also link up with other offshore storage sites in future, including some that propose to use enhanced oil recovery technology to retrieve oil that was previously difficult to reach.

Two of Britain's most advanced CCS projects are located in the Yorkshire area, including Drax's White Rose project which was shortlisted for a 1 billion pound ($1.5 billion)government tender last year.

CCS is commercially unproven and expensive to build, but governments that seek to curb emissions from the carbon-intensive power industry want it to make a contribution in future.

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