St Fergus facility is ‘well placed’ for development, insists local MP
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has hit back at claims that the St Fergus carbon capture storage facility has been “snubbed” by the UK Government.
He insisted the “Scottish cluster” of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) remains "well-placed" for development.
Last week, UK Energy Minister Greg Hands announced the first two industrial clusters to be supported to be operational in Britain by the mid-2020s, following a competitive process.
The Acorn Project at St Fergus has been designated a reserve site in the first track and will continue to receive UK Government support in that capacity as well as being in a prime position for being selected for full support in the second track.
Mr Duguid met Mr Hands last Friday to discuss the evaluation of the Acorn bid and support for development and planning going forward.
And he was reassured by Mr Hands’ comments in Parliament that its position in the second track is “enhanced” by reserve status.
Mr Duguid said: “The UK Government has already spent £31 million on the Scottish cluster, and CCUS is a major part of the North Sea Transition Deal worth up to £16 billion for the energy sector.
“Although disappointing that the Scottish Cluster did not meet the requirements to make the first cut the UK's CCUS sequencing round, the high quality of the bid means that The Acorn Project has been selected as a first reserve cluster.
“The UK Government is engaging with the Acorn Project team on this basis to determine what is needed to continue development and planner. The SNP are wrong to suggest that this is the end of the story – for those involved in CCUS, industry experts and the UK Government, it certainly is not.”
In a debate on CCUS, Mr Duguid asked the Minister about the status of the Scottish cluster.
Mr Hands responded: “We have been absolutely clear that the Acorn Scottish cluster is a reserve cluster, and we also have the existing commitment to have four clusters by the year 2030.
"Being a reserve in track 1 in no way prejudices a cluster’s position in track 2 — in fact, it rather enhances it — so I will leave my honourable Friend to draw a conclusion from what I am saying without prejudicing proper process. I think that cluster is well-placed.”