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Carbon capture: Collaboration needed says Shell head

 

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By John McManus: BBC News: 14 April 2016

The head of energy giant Shell’s UK and Ireland operations has said the UK government should have continued to support a scheme to develop carbon capture technology.

The technology – to store carbon emissions from fossil fuels underground – was being developed at Peterhead power station with the help of Shell.

Chancellor George Osborne cancelled the competition in his Autumn Statement.

Shell’s Paul Goodfellow said the technology needed more development.

Peterhead power station and the White Rose scheme in North Yorkshire were the bidders in the £1bn competition.

The Westminster government says it is still committed to tackling climate change.

Mr Goodfellow, director of Shell UK and Ireland upstream operations, spoke while attending an energy conference at the University of Aberdeen.

‘Using it elsewhere’

He told the BBC: “I do think it is a viable technology that should be used to help with decarbonisation, but it’s early in the technology phase, and therefore there is a collaborative approach needed between industry and government.

“And with government pulling out, that is not the right time for us to progress that at this point.

“But we would hope to be able to use that technology in the future, and of course we are using it elsewhere in the world already.”

Despite the oil price only hovering around the $44-a-barrel-mark, Mr Goodfellow said he was optimistic about the UK continental shelf (UKCS) – despite Shell’s expected job cuts.

He said: “We really have to focus on ‘can we be robust in the price environment today’. That’s where my focus is, that’s where the organisation’s focus is.”

‘Highly sceptical’

He said he believed that fracking, on which there is currently a moratorium in Scotland, would eventually happen.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

Mr Goodfellow said: “It’s sound from a technological perspective and being able to be balanced with the environmental impact that it can create.

“And it’s important that we look at both of those and not just focus on one or the other.”

Last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “highly sceptical” about fracking, but no decision on whether it should be permanently banned would be taken before next year.

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