THE UPPER PERMIAN ZECHSTEIN SUPERGROUP OF NE ENGLAND AND THE ADJACENT SOUTHERN NORTH SEA: A REVIEW OF ITS ROLE IN THE UK'S ENERGY TRANSITION
Laura-Jane C. Fyfe 1* and John R. Underhill 2
1 Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS.
2 University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX.
* Correspondence: L.Fyfe@hw.ac.uk
As the United Kingdom reduces its CO2 emissions in order to meet its 2050 net zero greenhouse gas targets, there will be a significant evolution of the UK's energy mix. The reliance on hydrocarbons will decrease while there is predicted to be an increase in low carbon energy sources such as renewables and nuclear. In order to decarbonise and achieve the net zero emissions targets while concurrently producing enough energy to provide for national energy needs, large-scale, low carbon energy generation projects need to be developed alongside energy storage facilities to provide flexibility within a low carbon energy supply. Robust CCUS programmes will need be developed in order to capture and store unavoidable carbon dioxide emissions. The subsurface geology of the UK provides opportunities for the development of low carbon energy generation, energy storage and CCS, and the Upper Permian Zechstein Supergroup deposited in eastern England and offshore in the Southern North Sea is a potential host for these new developments. In NE England, salt cavern gas storage sites have been developed in thick Zechstein evaporites since the mid 20th centrury. In this paper we present new isopach maps and well correlation panels which will help to outline optimal locations for the development of additional salt caverns for gas storage. A review of the Zechstein Supergroup indicates that it does not exhibit great potential for the development of CCS, due both to its complex reservoir characteristics and to difficulties with both subsurface imaging and monitoring. However thick Zechstein evaporites could provide an excellent seal for CO2 storage in the underlying Lower Permian Rotliegend Group.
Key words: Zechstein Supergroup, Permian, Southern North Sea, England, Southern Permian Basin, energy transition, salt caverns.
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