North Sea gas ‘super basin’ holds key to carbon storage breakthrough


United Kingdom – A groundbreaking research study led by the University of Aberdeen has identified promising regions within the North Sea gas ‘super basin’ that hold significant potential for storing industrial carbon emissions.

As the world endeavors to transition to a low-carbon future, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) have emerged as critical solutions to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The study, commended by the UK Regulator, North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), explores the Anglo-Polish Super Basin in the Southern North Sea, using subsurface data and techniques typically applied in oil and gas exploration. The results unveil the basin’s enormous capacity to serve as a future CCUS hub, safely storing industrial emissions in former gas fields and geological formations. By leveraging this potential, the basin could play a pivotal role in aiding European nations to sequester carbon emissions, achieve net-zero targets, and bolster energy security while sustaining industrial activities and extending the life of North Sea basin infrastructure.


The primary goal of the research study is to identify viable locations within the North Sea gas ‘super basin’ for carbon storage, advancing the energy transition and accelerating the adoption of CCUS technologies. By tapping into the vast geological capacity of the basin, the study aims to pave the way for secure and sustainable carbon storage solutions, enabling European countries to address their climate goals effectively.

Adapting O&G techniques for CCUS

To assess the suitability of the Anglo-Polish Super Basin for CCUS, researchers utilized subsurface data and methodologies commonly applied in oil and gas exploration. By employing these techniques, they could pinpoint areas with optimal geological criteria for carbon storage, providing a robust basis for evaluating and prioritizing potential sites.

Net-zero ambitions

The potential impact of the research study is significant. By identifying and confirming the North Sea basin’s capacity for carbon storage, the study contributes to the UK’s position as a leading destination for sequestering industrial emissions from Europe and beyond. It also facilitates energy security, supports net-zero emission targets, and positions the UK Continental Shelf as a region with world-class CO2 storage opportunities to decarbonize the industrial and power sectors.

The research study’s broader application is evident as it provides a replicable framework for evaluating CCUS suitability in other major basins worldwide. As the global community seeks to safely store billions of tons of CO2 in geological formations, this study’s workflow can guide other countries in identifying suitable carbon storage locations.