• 21 licences shared by a total of 14 companies

  • Almost 10% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions could be stored in new licence locations

  • Bacton could be Energy Transition Hub – home to carbon storage, offshore wind, and hydrogen production

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) today (15 September 2023) announced the list of companies which have accepted licences following the UK’s first-ever carbon storage licensing round.  

A total of 14 companies have been awarded 21 licences in depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers which cover around 12,000sq km – an area equivalent to the size of Yorkshire. 

The locations could store up to 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030, approximately 10% of UK annual emissions which were 341.5 million tonnes in 2021. 

Shell, Perenco and ENI have all been awarded licences off the coast of Norfolk in sites which could form part of the Bacton Energy Hub – a carbon storage, hydrogen and offshore wind project, which could provide low-carbon energy for London and the South East for decades to come and help in the drive to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

Other locations include sites off the coasts of Aberdeen, Teesside, and Liverpool.  

Stuart Payne, NSTA Chief Executive, said: 

“Carbon storage will play a crucial role in the energy transition, storing carbon dioxide deep under the seabed and playing a key role in hydrogen production and energy hubs. 

“It is exciting to award these licences and our teams will support the licensees to bring about first injection of carbon dioxide as soon as possible. We will also continue to work with industry and government to enable further licensing activity and back the UK’s drive to net zero emissions.” 

It is estimated that as many as 100 storage licences will be needed to meet the requirements for reaching net zero and the volume of applications received for the first round demonstrated the industry’s desire for further opportunities. 

The NSTA will assess the response and the quality of opportunities in locations across the UK before deciding when to run a second round. 

Six licences have already been granted by the NSTA and the Government recently announced £20bn funding for the progression of these existing projects. Two locations, Hynet and the East Coast Cluster, have been selected as Track 1, while Acorn and Viking CCS projects have been chosen as the Track 2 clusters.

The cluster sequencing process was set up to give industry the certainty it requires to deploy carbon storage at pace.

An updated GIS delivery is available here, and redacted versions of all of the new licences will be published in the coming days.

Ruth Herbert, Chief Executive at the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, said:

 “The CCSA welcomes the acceptance of carbon storage licences, a significant step towards achieving net zero. These licences mark a substantial milestone towards widespread deployment of CCS.

“With the potential to store almost 10% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions in these new locations, starting to develop these sites paves the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future. The next step is a carbon capture deployment plan to enable us to fully exploit our future CO2 storage capacity.”

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said:

“The UK has one of the largest potential carbon dioxide storage capacities in Europe, putting us in prime position to be world leaders in carbon capture – which is why we’ve committed an unprecedented £20 billion to develop the early stage development of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS).

“These new licences confirmed today will be vital to realising our CCUS potential, playing a key role in the energy transition to help boost our energy security and achieve our net zero targets, while also bringing in private investment and supporting thousands of jobs.”

The NSTA, The Crown Estate (TCE) and Crown Estate Scotland (CES) are working in close collaboration to help meet the UK Government’s ambitious carbon storage targets of 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year by 2030, and over 50 million tonnes by 2035, and make a significant contribution to net zero.

Details of Licensees

Licence number Licensee Partners (where applicable Area Other info (Area of interest)
CS008 ENI UK Ltd   SNS SNS Area 4 Hewett Area
CS009 Perenco UK Ltd Carbon Catalyst Ltd SNS SNS Area 4 Leman Area
CS010 Spirit Energy Production UK Ltd   EIS EIS Area 1 Morecambe Area
CS011 Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd Shell UK Ltd; Chrysaor Ltd CNS CNS Area 2 Acorn East
CS012 Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd  Shell UK Ltd;  Chrysaor Ltd  CNS CNS Area 1 East Mey
CS013 Enquest CCS Ltd   NNS NNS Area 1 Magnus sub area
CS014 Enquest CCS Ltd    NNS NNS Area 1 Thistle sub area
CS015 Enquest CCS Ltd    NNS NNS Area 2 Tern sub area
CS016 Enquest CCS Ltd    NNS NNS Area 2 Eider sub area
CS017 Perenco UK Ltd Carbon Catalyst Ltd SNS SNS Area6B Amethyst
CS018 Perenco UK Ltd  Carbon Catalyst Ltd SNS SNS Area 6A West Sole
CS019 Synergia Energy CCS Ltd Wintershall Dea Carbon Management Solutions UK SNS SNS Area 4 Camelot Area
CS020 Neptune Energy CCS Projects Ltd   SNS SNS Area 1 BC05 sub area
CS021 Neptune Energy CCS Projects Ltd Esso Exploration and Production UK Ltd SNS SNS Area 5 Bunter BC13
CS022 Neptune Energy CCS Projects Ltd    SNS SNS Area 7 Caister Bunter
CS023 Chrysaor Production UK Ltd BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd SNS SNS Area 4 Vulcan area
CS024 Chrysaor Production UK Ltd  BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd  SNS SNA Area 8 Audrey
CS025 BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd Equinor New Energy Ltd SNS SNS Area 1 BC42 sub area
CS026 Shell UK Ltd Esso Exploration & Production UK Limited SNS SNS Area 2 Sean Fields
CS027 Shell UK Ltd  Esso Exploration & Production UK Limited  SNS SNS Area 2 Indefatigable field
CS028 Shell UK Ltd  Exploration & Production UK Limited SNS SNS Area 3

Notes to editors: 

  1. Bacton business opportunity
  2. Summit Energy Evolution
  3. The OGA (now NSTA), in collaboration with BEIS (now DESNZ), Ofgem and The Crown Estate, published an Energy Integration report in August 2020. The report found that offshore energy integration can deliver 30% of UK’s net zero target. It also highlighted the potential for offshore renewables to contribute around a further 30%. Work has now begun on a follow-up project looking at ways to remove barriers to projects and improve regulatory coordination.
  4. The 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution
  5. Energy White Paper: Powering our net zero future
  6. British Energy Security Strategy
  7. Spring Budget 2023 (confirming up to £20bn funding for CCUS projects)
  8. Huge net zero boost as 20 carbon storage licences offered for award
  9. NSTA offers additional carbon storage licence
  10. Once a licence has been awarded by the NSTA, the licensee also needs to obtain a seabed lease from The Crown Estate or Crown Estate Scotland. The Crown Estate is working to design and deliver the required leasing process for CCUS developers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, ensuring a holistic view is taken of how new infrastructure sits alongside all other marine users and respects the nation’s vital coastal environments and habitats.
  11. NSTA, TCE and CES announce renewed collaboration to unlock the potential of carbon storage


Among the benefits the Bacton Energy Hub could bring are: 

  • Bacton wind farms could produce nearly 40% of the Government’s 40GW by 2030 target. There is potential for very significant hydrogen demand in the Bacton Catchment Area
  • By 2030 this could be the equivalent of almost 20% of the Government’s UK wide target of 5GW of low-carbon production by 2030,
  • and rising tenfold by 2050.
  • Decarbonising energy in the Bacton Catchment Area by using blue hydrogen with Carbon Capture and Storage could result in an emissions reduction equivalent to:
  • nearly 15% of the 10-point plan’s target to remove 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030
  • and up to a 70% reduction of the regional emissions by 2050.
  • Decarbonising the Bacton Catchment Area could capture carbon dioxide equivalent of:
  • 700,000 cars’ worth of annual emission by 2030 and
  • equivalent of 8.7 million cars emissions by 2050.

The project has already made significant progress with a series of Special Interest Groups producing highly-positive reports into various aspects of the scheme and Summit Energy Evolution and Progressive Energy Limited have already signed a joint development agreement relating to a CCS-Enabled Hydrogen Production Facility located in the vicinity of the Bacton gas terminals. 


For further information please contact:  

Tel: 07785 655620  

Email: pressoffice@nstauthority.co.uk