A “treasure map” of what lies beneath the North Sea is to be created to help Britain become a world leader in carbon capture and storage.

This was announced yesterday by the UK Government’s department for energy security and net zero.

It says energy companies drilling offshore will have to report what they find to the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), which will develop the most comprehensive picture yet of the geological make-up of the basin.

The government says this information can then be used to let investors see how much carbon capture and storage could be possible.

This could attract more companies to the UK, supporting as many as 50,000 green jobs by 2030.

Stuart Payne, chief executive of the NSTA, said: “Carbon storage is essential to reaching net zero, and the industry requires a wealth of reliable information to select sites to store millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.

New powers

“The NSTA welcomes these new powers to collect this vital data and share it with the industry.”

It is thought there may be enough space underneath Britain's seas to store up to 78billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is in prime position to become a world leader in carbon capture and storage – a whole new industry that could boost our energy security, help cut our own emissions and those of our European neighbours and create thousands of jobs for the future.

“By working with the brightest and best who are already out in the North Sea, we can grow our economy by building the treasure map needed to unlock the full potential of this geological goldmine.”

Michael Tholen, director of policy and sustainability at trade body Offshore Energies UK, commented: “Deep beneath our waters lies a treasure trove of carbon capture business opportunities. An accurate map of the UK’s potential for this innovative sector will help to nurture a new wave of businesses and jobs."

  • Banks, energy companies, technology giants and finance firms were among those attending the first meeting of the UK’s Net Zero Council yesterday.

Co-chaired by Energy Minister Graham Stuart and Co-op Group chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq, the body will support industry to help cut their emissions, and develop greener practices.

It also aims to grow the economy by finding ways to ensure British businesses can benefit from the country’s world-leading position in renewable technologies and achieving net zero, and export their expertise globally.

Mr Stuart said: “The Net Zero Council provides the high-level forum for government, business and finance leaders to work together to unlock the opportunities of the green transition.

“Tackling emissions can make businesses more energy efficient, improve UK energy security and, in turn, cut costs. It can open up opportunities to export British-developed solutions around the world, expand UK market share and create jobs.”

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