NSTA grants carbon storage licences to Acorn

Acorn has received licences from the North Sea Transition Authority for the Acorn East and East Mey CO2 stores, expanding its transport and storage system’s capacity deep beneath the North Sea to around 240 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2.

Awarded its first storage licence in 2018, Acorn will provide the transport and storage network for the Scottish Cluster to capture and permanently store CO2 emissions 100km offshore, in geological formations 2.5km below the seabed.

A spokesperson for Acorn said: "These extensive areas of subsea acreage are key elements in Acorn’s long-term strategy. The North Sea Transition Authority’s award of these carbon storage licences is welcome news, as we continue to respond to Government’s Track-2 process."

The Acorn Development Partners – lead developer Storegga, technical developer Shell, Harbour Energy, and North Sea Midstream Partners – are currently preparing for detailed commercial negotiations with Government in Track-2.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed Acorn had entered the Track-2 process in July 2023, making it one of four UK Government Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) clusters selected to deliver storage of 20-30 Mt of CO₂ per year by 2030. Acorn has received match funding from the UK and Scottish Governments and has benefited from two rounds of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding from the European Commission. 

Before 2030, the Scottish Cluster could include nine different UK CO2 sources, spanning a variety of high-emitting sectors including industrial sites and power generation plants, as well as new hydrogen generation plant technology. Primary early sources of CO2 include: two of the gas terminals at the St Fergus Gas Complex; SSE and Equinor’s Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station; a new blue hydrogen plant supplying INEOS and Petroineos sites at Grangemouth; and ExxonMobil and Shell’s facilities at Mossmorran.

Peterhead Port provides an additional opportunity for shipped emissions – increasing domestic reach and opportunities for international emitters, such as European and other international emitters, to utilise UK storage, further reducing costs for UK emitters. 

The Scottish Cluster can help enable a just transition, delivering a sustainable future for hard-to-abate sectors, protecting jobs, supporting communities and creating value adding activity for Scotland and the UK.


The Acorn Project and Partners

Storegga, Shell, Harbour Energy (“Harbour”) and North Sea Midstream Partners (“NSMP”) are partners in the Acorn Project.

Acorn is expected to store at least 5Mt/yr of CO₂ by 2030. Acorn is specifically designed to service multiple emitters around Scotland, the UK and Europe. As such, it can rapidly scale up to meet expected demand.

The Acorn CCS project repurposes existing gas pipelines with ready access to world class CO2 storage, to quickly establish an essential CO2 transportation and storage hub in north-east Scotland, which can be rapidly scaled up to support the deployment of a host of low carbon technologies.

For more information on Acorn, contact theacornproject@weareaspect.com


Storegga Limited is an independent, UK-based decarbonisation development business. It develops early-stage carbon capture and storage and hydrogen projects in the UK and internationally to contribute to achieving net zero targets.  The company employs approximately 80 people in the UK, US, and Singapore, with its head office in London. 

Storegga is a private company backed by GIC, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., M&G Investments, Macquarie Group and Snam.

For more information on Storegga, contact storegga@dentonsglobaladvisors.com


A global group of energy and petrochemical companies with more than 80,000 employees in more than 70 countries, with considerable global expertise and experience in the delivery of large scale, complex engineering projects using advanced technologies and an innovative approach to help build a sustainable energy future. Shell is currently involved in range of carbon capture and storage projects around the world.

Shell is the Technical Developer of the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen projects.

For more information on Shell’s CCS activities please contact +44 20 7934 5550.

Harbour Energy

Harbour Energy is the largest London-listed independent oil and gas company. We have a leading position in the UK as well as interests in Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Norway. Our strategy is to continue to build a global, diversified oil and gas company focused on safe and responsible operations, value creation and shareholder returns. Across our operations we are committed to achieving our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 with respect to our scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. In addition, we are well positioned to use our existing skills and infrastructure to help deliver the UK’s CCS goals and more broadly the country’s emissions reduction targets.

Brunswick Group

Patrick Handley / Tel: 07974 982395

Will Medvei / Tel: 07823 527148

North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP)

A leading independent integrated midstream infrastructure owner, investor and operator offering gas transportation and processing services to North Sea shippers and is dedicated to the security of gas supply and energy transition. NSMP is responsible for delivering up to 19% of the daily UK gas supply into the NTS. NSMP’s vision is to be the most successful, UK based independent midstream company, integral to the transition to a net zero future.

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