The Southern North Sea has been a critical part of the UK’s energy system for half a century. Over the past two decades, offshore wind power has added a new dimension to its energy mix. Bacton has been identified as a key OGA area plan.

The OGA commissioned Progressive Energy to undertake a study to consider the Bacton Catchment Area, analysing the key end users to define how the Bacton Catchment Area hydrogen market might emerge and generating an indicative future hydrogen demand profile for the region. Based on this analysis, the study has identified credible routes to hydrogen production to meet this demand, and has framed the directional value-add that hydrogen could unlock.

The study has confirmed that there is a significant economic opportunity for a hydrogen led Energy Hub at Bacton and has developed a vision for the Bacton Catchment Area in this context, to inform the next phases of the Bacton Area Plan.

The natural gas fields of the Southern North Sea and the Bacton gas terminal have been part of the UK’s energy backbone for more than 50 years. Since 2004, offshore wind power has also contributed to the energy mix in the area. As society decarbonises and energy in the UK moves to a net zero footing, Bacton and the Southern North Sea can continue to play a major role.

This report summarises the main findings of analysis undertaken by Progressive Energy on behalf of the Oil & Gas Authority to explore this potential, with particular focus on the prospective role for the Bacton gas terminal, and its associated gas fields and nearby offshore wind power.

The analysis concludes that there is very significant potential for the Bacton Catchment Area to play a major role in the UK’s energy future through the production of hydrogen from natural gas produced from existing and undeveloped gas fields, and from electrolysis powered by new offshore wind power and nuclear capacity. This will deliver a critical zero-carbon fuel for local and regional markets and enable the economic development and life-extension of gas fields across the region and the creation of jobs and valuable Intellectual Property.

This summary report describes the market potential for hydrogen, the main processes for hydrogen production, the role of hydrocarbons and the associated opportunities, the role of offshore wind and its limitations, and the other opportunities available to the Bacton Catchment Area in pursuing these strategies.

A copy of the presentation can be viewed here.

We also committed to publish answers to all the questions we received in advance of the session, during the session and up to 25 June.  The questions and answers can be viewed here.

Bacton Energy Hub report

Bacton Energy Hub report