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    ExxonMobil eyes greater use of Acorn CCS in Scotland


ExxonMobil is considering using the project for emissions from its Fife ethylene plant and gas terminals in St Fergus.

by: Joseph Murphy

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ExxonMobil eyes greater use of Acorn CCS in Scotland

ExxonMobil has signed an expression of interest to use the Acorn carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Scotland to store CO2 from its ethylene plant in Fife, the US major said on October 6.

ExxonMobil in July signed a memorandum to use the project, which is being developed by Storegga, Shell and Harbour Energy, to store CO2 from gas terminals in St Fergus in Scotland.

Acorn's developers are bidding for inclusion in a government support programme to decarbonise the UK's largest industrial clusters. The government said in August it had shortlisted five CCS projects for the programme's first phase, but only two can be selected. Acorn is one of the more advanced CCS projects underway in the UK, having already entered its frontend engineering and design phase.

Acorn is expected to store up to 10mn metric tons/year of CO2 by 2030, rising to 20mn mt/yr by the mid-2030s. In addition to ExxonMobil's facilities, it is also set to handle CO2 from the Grangemouth refinery owned by Ineos.

ExxonMobil said that its plan to capture CO2 from the Fife plant demonstrated its commitment to decarbonising industry. It recently finished a $170mn investment programme at the plant to improve its operational reliability and performance. It is set to install an enclosed ground flare at the site by the end of 2022 that will significantly reduce noise, light and vibration, reducing the use of the plant's elevated flare by at least 98%.

ExxonMobil noted that it was looking at carbon capture opportunities in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Normandy in France, LaBarge in Wyoming and Houston in Texas. In April, the company mooted the creation of a $100bn project to capture and store CO2 in the Houston area.