Italy's Eni wins UK carbon storage licence

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian energy company Eni is seen on a booth stand during the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja, Nigeria February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian energy group Eni ENI.MI has won a licence in the United Kingdom to store carbon dioxide (CO2) in depleted gas fields as part of its strategy to make its business greener.

The licence, awarded by Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority, will cover the Liverpool Bay area of the East Irish Sea, Eni said in a statement.

While a final investment decision still needs to be taken, Eni plans to use the depleted Hamilton, Hamilton North and Lennox fields in the area to store CO2 captured in northwest England and northern Wales.

“This is a vitally important project for Eni and represents a milestone for the 2050 Net Zero ambitions of the UK,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said.

Earlier this year Eni pledged to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in one of the most ambitious clean-up drives in an industry under pressure from investors to go green.

To do that it will have less oil and more gas in its portfolio and will launch a series of clean energy projects including large-scale carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) investments.

In January it announced an agreement with ADNOC to develop CCUS facilities in Abu Dhabi and is planning to build one of the biggest CO2 hubs in the world near Ravenna in Italy.

The facility in the Liverpool Bay area is expected to have a storage capacity of 200 million tons of CO2 with an annual input of up to 3 million tons.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise