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Confidence rising in chances for Scottish cluster CCS project – Ineos

Andrew Gardner, chief executive of Ineos Forties Pipeline System (FPS) and Tobias Hannemann (right), chief executive of Ineos O&P UK at INEOS Grangemouth headquarters after the company made an investment announcement. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 27, 2019. See PA story INDUSTRY Ineos. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Ineos Grangemouth boss Andrew Gardner has said he is “optimistic” about the chances of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) project based in Peterhead being selected this month as part of a £1billion investment led by the UK government.

Ineos, one of the Scotland’ biggest and most intensive emitters of Co2, recently struck a deal with the Acorn CCS project to store carbon in depleted North Sea oil and gas fields.

It has thrown its weight behind what is called the Scottish Cluster, a group of companies including Harbour Energy, Shell,  Storegga and Wood which are are also backing the project.

Mr Gardner outlined how Ineos’ petrochemical works and refinery at Grangemouth has already cut emissions by 40% since the conglomerate acquired the facility in 2005.

He said the business will cut a further 60% through the production of “blue” hydrogen – produced using gas – and then eventually “green” hydrogen, which uses renewable energy, as well as store carbon as part of the Acorn project in a £1bn investment plan unveiled last month.

Grangemouth.

Speaking to the Sunday Times Scotland, he set out why the firm, which is owned by billionaire industrialist Jim Ratcliffe, is “heavily backing the Acorn project”.

“It’s huge in comparison to other schemes because it has the capability to store the carbon in depleted oil and gas fields in the North Sea. I’m optimistic about its chances,” he said.

He added that CCS was an essential step towards meeting net zero targets, which required “practical” plans to achieve them.

Don’t rip up industry

“We need to move away from the idea that the only way to decarbonise is to immediately scrap every boiler in every home, or rip up industrial infrastructure.

“The reality is people still want the products that contribute to carbon emissions.

“If we immediately stop manufacturing, it will simply be outsourced to places that do not have the same sustainability regulations or targets that we have, and then shipped back here.

“At the same time more than 98% of people in the UK are still driving combustion engine cars. The shift to net zero has to be a transition- one with practical targets.”

Last month, Mr Gardner had said he was only “reasonably confident” that the Acorn project would be among the first two CCS  clusters as part of its “Track 1” process.

Sir Ian Wood
Sir Ian Wood believes the Scottish cluster has the “capability to deliver”.

In recent weeks a number of groups and individuals have stepped forward to argue in favour of the north-east project. Senior representatives of business organisations including Sir Ian Wood sent a letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging him to give his backing to Acorn.

Sir Ian said: “With proven global expertise in delivering large offshore and onshore projects, we have the established infrastructure, existing talent pool, and business capability to deliver.”

Scottish energy secretary Michael Matheson has said the Scottish Government is “firmly supportive” of the bid and claimed it is “critical” that it be awarded funding from the UK Government.

The UK Government’s 10 point plan outlined the ambition for two CCS clusters to be deployed in the UK by the mid-2020s and a further two by 2030.

Several projects across England involving the likes of BP, Neptune Energy, HyNet, TotalEnergies and more are in the running for Track 1 announcement due in coming weeks.

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