Carbon storage in old platforms “10 times cheaper” than decommissioningLocation of the Beatrice Offshore Facilities. Source: Repsol Sinopec UK

Carbon storage in old platforms “10 times cheaper” than decommissioning

A new research study from Edinburgh University reveals that it's more economical to use old platforms on the UKCS for carbon emissions storage than to take them apart.

These findings are based after studying the Beatrice oilfield, located on the north-east Scottish coast in the outer Moray Firth. Repsol Sinopec UK operates the Beatrice field, which ceased production in 2015 and is now considered for decommissioning.

Using computer modelling, the researchers found that, over a 30-year period, using the field and its infrastructure as a carbon capture and storage (CCS) site would be around 10 times cheaper than decommissioning, which is expected to cost more than £260m.

Researchers also found that large amounts of natural gas and heat can be extracted from saltwater in exhausted oil and gas fields, which can be used as a fuel on the platforms or used to produce electricity.

The university said this could help kick start a “world-leading” CCS industry in the North Sea.

Jonathan Scafidi of the university’s School of Geosciences said: “Removing platforms at large expense is short-sighted. Re-using them to dispose of CO2 in rocks several kilometres beneath the seabed will not only be cheaper but provides a cost-effective means of cutting the UK’s CO2 emissions to meet the 2050 net-zero target.”