In December 2020, the OGA commissioned Progressive Energy to conduct a report on the hydrogen demand capacity in Bacton and the South East of England.
For half a century, the Southern North Sea has been a vital part of the UK’s energy system, and it will continue to be so for decades to come, with Bacton playing a key role. The study was commissioned to assess the demand for, and potential for, hydrogen generation in the Bacton region, as well as to gain a better understanding of the potential requirements for future hydrocarbon production and infrastructure repurposing to support it, and to establish a future vision for the Southern North Sea and Bacton.
According to the report, the Bacton region has the potential to be a major hydrogen production site for London and the South East, demonstrating energy transition in motion. Blue hydrogen is projected to become the most economically viable alternative in the 2030s and early 2040s as a result of the creation of a sustainable market for this hydrogen. By the late 2040s and early 2050s, green hydrogen technology will have matured, and the cost of green hydrogen will be more cost competitive on an industrial scale.
The Southern North Sea has ample indigenous hydrocarbon reserves to supply the feedstock needed to meet rising blue hydrogen demand, generating value while assisting the UK’s transition to Net Zero. Green hydrogen could be used to redeploy constrained wind energy, while blue hydrogen could take advantage of the Southern North Sea’s current hydrocarbon infrastructure and substantial CO2 storage capacity. As a result, the Southern North Sea may play an important role in decarbonizing the UK’s energy mix.
However, immediate action is needed to ensure the continued production and development of natural gas in the near future, both to maintain existing infrastructure and to ensure the availability of feedstock for blue hydrogen. Failure to act now could result in the premature decommissioning of infrastructure and the loss of hydrocarbon opportunities, both of which would have a significant effect on the region’s ability to realize this benefit.
The OGA will be hosting a workshop on Wednesday 16 June between 10:00 and 11:30 to share further insights into the report’s findings. If you believe your organisation is well placed to take this exciting opportunity forward please register your interest by emailing Bactonenergyhub@ogauthority.co.uk.