Bacton can become a significant hydrogen production site for London and the South East, according to a study commissioned by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).
On 23 March, the OGA published findings from analysis carried out by Progressive Energy, exploring both the demand and potential for generation of hydrogen in the Bacton area. A sustainable market for hydrogen is expected to develop, with blue hydrogen the most commercially viable option in the 2030s and early 2040s ahead of green hydrogen taking over, which will become the most cost competitive option on an industrial scale by the late 2040s and early 2050s.
There are a number of advantages that Bacton has as a potential hydrogen hub, such as access to UK and imported natural gas for blue hydrogen production, as well as access to offshore wind power. It also has sufficient land for the development of hydrogen production, availability of offshore structures for CO2 and hydrogen storage, and gas distribution connections to London and the South East.
It further noted that the Southern North Sea (SNS) has enough indigenous hydrocarbon reserves to provide the necessary feedstock to meet increasing blue hydrogen demand. Blue hydrogen would make use of existing hydrocarbon infrastructure and extensive CO2 storage potential the SNS offers, while green hydrogen can be used to redeploy constrained wind energy.
Action is needed now, however, to realise such a vision and develop a sustainable market for hydrogen. This would be aimed at ensuring continued production and development of natural gas in the near term, protecting existing infrastructure and making sure of feedstock availability for blue hydrogen. The risk is that infrastructure could otherwise be prematurely decommissioned and hydrocarbon opportunities lost.
The OGA will host a workshop on Wednesday 16 June, from 10AM to 11:30AM to share further insights into the report’s findings.