Harbour Energy and bp agreed to develop the Viking CCS project in April 2023. (Credit: BP p.l.c.)
The Viking CCS project pipeline route. (Credit: © RWE)
Harbour Energy and ABP signed an exclusive commercial relationship to develop a carbon dioxide import terminal at the Port of Immingham. (Credit: Associated British Ports)

Viking carbon capture and storage (CCS) (formerly V Net Zero Pipeline Project) in the UK is a planned project that will involve building infrastructure to transport and store carbon dioxide in secure offshore storage sites.

Harbour Energy and bp agreed to develop the Viking CCS project in April 2023. UK-based independent oil and gas company Harbour Energy will be the operator of the project with 60% interest, while bp will hold the remaining 40% non-operated stake.

Harbour secured a CO2 appraisal and storage licence (CS licence) from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) in the UK, now known as the North Sea Transition Authority, in October 2021.

The final investment decision (FID) on Viking CCS is planned for 2024. Key construction for the project is anticipated to commence in 2026, with site preparation works starting at the end of 2025. The project is expected to be operational as early as 2027.

With an initial design life of a minimum of 25 years, the project life can be extended to 40 years with proper maintenance.

Viking CCS Key Project Components

Viking CCS will be located in Northeast Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire, in the Yorkshire and Humber region and East Midlands region of the UK.

The project will involve the development of the Immingham Facility, which will collect carbon dioxide from the emitters. The carbon dioxide will be then transported via a planned underground 55.6km long pipeline (Viking CCS pipeline) to a former gas terminal site in Theddlethorpe.

Subsequently, the carbon dioxide would be transported offshore for 120km within the existing Lincolnshire Offshore Gas Gathering System (LOGGS) Pipeline and then a 20km section of newly constructed subsea pipeline to the proposed Viking offshore injection facilities.

Immingham Facility

According to the Preliminary Environmental Information Report Volume I November 2022, the Immingham Facility will be located in a disused area to the south of the VPI Immingham site.

This facility, to be located in around 11,000m2 area, will be within an existing industrial area near the carbon dioxide emitters.

The emitters will themselves install and operate the units to capture, quantify and compress carbon dioxide for onward transport.

Immingham Facility will feature inlet manifold (where the incoming pipelines from each emitter are combined); valve access platform (to allow access to the inlet manifold for maintenance); High-integrity Pressure Protection System; permanent ‘pig’ launcher and receiver to enable pipeline clean-ups and inspections among others.

The Pipeline

The 55.6km onshore pipeline that will transport carbon dioxide from Immingham to Theddlethorpe will be constructed, operated and maintained in accordance with the Pipeline Safety Regulations 1996.

The pipeline will have an internal diameter of 24inches. It will be buried underground at a minimum depth of 1.2m.

Additionally, Harbour plans to use a combination of external coatings and cathodic protection technique to prevent pipeline corrosion.

The cathodic protection would involve deploying a series of anodes in groundbeds, adjacent to the Block Valve Stations, at the same time of the installation of the pipeline.

The pipeline would mainly be built using an open cut technique.

Block Valve Stations

The project will have three block valve stations to monitor the pipeline from the main control centre. This will also enable isolating a section of the pipeline for maintenance purposes.

The block valve locations will be at around 13km, 24km and 39km along the pipeline route.

The block valves will be mostly underground with minimal above ground infrastructure. The stations will be primarily operated remotely.

Theddlethorpe Facility

The Theddlethorpe Facility may be built on the former gas terminal site or to the west of the location.

Key components at the facility will include a LOGGS pipeline tie-in that will connect the onshore pipeline to the offshore pipeline, Emergency Shutdown Valves, High-integrity Pressure Protection System, Central Control Room, equipment room and a venting system.

Several assessments were undertaken on the existing 120km LOGGS pipeline, which ceased operations in 2018, to determine if it is fit to transport carbon dioxide.

Harbour plans to use the depleted Rotliegend gas fields, Viking and Victor, located around 140km from the Lincolnshire coast, to inject and store carbon dioxide in deep geological formations around 9,000ft below seabed.

The company may also use the Bunter Formation aquifer to create additional storage capacity.

The initial storage capacity will be around 300 million tonnes.

Benefits of Viking CCS

The Viking CCS project is planned to transport and store 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) annually by 2030 and around 15MtCO2 a year by 2035.

The project’s storage capacity will also enable the UK Government to achieve its goal of capturing up to 30 million tonnes a year of CO2 by 2030.

Around 70% of the existing Humber industrial and power emissions are located on the Lincolnshire side of the Humber river. The development of CCS project will also help in the decarbonisation of the industries in the region.

Additionally, capital investment by Viking CCS Cluster projects is expected to create up to 10,000 jobs.

Contracts and Agreements

Infrastructure consulting firm AECOM was commissioned by Harbour to prepare the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Report for the Viking CCS project.

Kent was responsible for developing the feasibility and concept selection for the carbon dioxide Transport and Storage facilities including reutilising existing pipeline infrastructure. The company was also responsible for developing the Pre-FEED for the CO2 Transport and Storage network including Flow Assurance (FA).

In October 2022, Harbour and ABP announced a commercial relationship to develop a CO2 import terminal at the Port of Immingham. The terminal is intended to connect industrial businesses around the UK to the Viking CCS’s CO2 storage sites in the Southern North Sea. Construction of the jetty is estimated to commence in 2024.

West Burton Energy, Phillips 66 and VPI are other partners of the Viking CCS network.

In December 2022, RWE and Harbour agreed to jointly investigate options for the transport and storage of captured CO2 from RWE’s gas fired power stations via Viking CCS.

In March 2023, Harbour announced that ERCE, a consultancy specialising in geoscience evaluation, engineering, and economic assessments, independently verified the COstorage capacity of the offshore Viking fields.