Labour MPs for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, and Redcar’s Anna Turley have today (18th November) called on the Government to step up its support for the Carbon Capture and Storage project on Teesside.
Ahead of the Spending Review and the Autumn Statement on 25th November, Tom and Anna have sent a joint letter to the Chancellor George Osborne asking him to ‘reassess the level of support and funding available to Teesside Collective’s CCS project in light of the closure of the steelworks in Redcar and the 700 announced job losses at Boulby Potash’.
“Over the past couple of months the local economy of Teesside and East Cleveland have suffered tremendous blows, firstly the steelworks and latterly with the potash mine at Boulby. Now is not the time to be protecting the failing Northern Powerhouse minister by sending up Lord Heseltine to deflect some of the criticism.
“The industrial CCS project put forward by Teesside Collective offers a huge opportunity to not only protect remaining key industries, but to grow and become a global leader in this technology – and that will bring jobs.
“So far, the government has invested £1m into this project; that is a pittance when compared to other governments. For example, in Canada, government’s there have invested over $600m in a CCS project by Royal Dutch Shell. There is a real risk that the UK will be left behind on this technology and the government urgently needs to step up the funding being provided to the project on Teesside and that will attract private investment that will lead to more jobs for local people.”
“The carbon capture and storage project offers huge potential for Teesside’s economy and is exactly the kind of investment we need to drive our recovery from the loss of the steelworks and job cuts in other local industries. It will not only help create new jobs but ensure our existing core industries remain viable and make Teesside a world leader in clean energy. This is an ideal project for new Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative and it is imperative the government recognise the crucial importance of this project.”
Full text of letter to the Chancellor, George Osborne MP below:
Dear Mr Osborne,
Following the loss of the steelworks in Redcar and 700 jobs lost at Boulby Potash Mine in East Cleveland, the urgency required to provide support to the energy-intensive industries that remain vital to the local economy of Teesside and the UK has never been greater.
We firmly believe that industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) has huge potential for Teesside and needs to be given more support than is currently being offered.
The Tees Valley Process Industry Cluster is one of the largest in the UK employing over 20,000 people, with GDP of around £10bn and consists of a diverse sector base of chemicals, petrochemicals and energy companies. However, the nature of these industries also makes Teesside the most carbon-intensive location in the country.
This cluster, known as Teesside Collective, have made a great effort in developing a practical case to develop this pioneering CCS technology for UK industry. The project features heavily in the Tees Valley Devolution Deal and has been awarded £1m funding by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change to develop a business case for deploying industrial CCS in the Teesside cluster and to make recommendations for a funding mechanism.
The core of the Teesside CCS case is that this area is home to a large number of high energy users, power generators, chemical companies and utilities who are emitters of CO2 via their processes. The historic integrated nature of the Teesside process sector means that there are already in place complex pipeline networks between these companies, and crucially pipeline access into and from North Sea oil and gas basins which today supply common feedstock. It is envisaged that this commonality of pipeline resource and the availability of access to the North Sea can provide a structure that can gather and sequester CO2 in those basins, thus taking out the CO2 from atmospheric emission and also increasing the ground pressure that can help “win” residual oil and gas reserves otherwise uneconomic to exploit.
The board of the Teesside Collective include seasoned and experienced process industry managers from the largest firms on Teesside and together they can bring many hundreds of collective years of technical and managerial expertise to such a project.
The number of carbon capture and storage projects worldwide has doubled over the past five years and only this week Royal Dutch Shell launched a CCS project in Alberta, Canada worth $1.35bn – of which the governments of Alberta and Canada provided $560m and $90m funding respectively, for the project. As we are sure you can appreciate, this is significantly more than anything provided to the Teesside Collective thus far.
Teesside has the potential to become a global leader on industrial CCS and provide jobs for generations and provide security for other local industries. But it will only achieve this with active substantial support from the Government. This is the kind of project that the recently announced Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative should be engaged with.
In light of recent events, we hope you give serious consideration to reassessing the level of support being made available to this project and we would be happy to meet with you to discuss our ideas further.
Anna Turley MP - Member of Parliament for Redcar
Tom Blenkinsop MP - Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland