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SSI Steel Agree To Fight Climate Change – Then Shut Down

January 28, 2016
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By Paul Homewood 




Is this some sort of sick joke? I found it on DECC’s blog from last September:



It might surprise you to hear the operator of the second largest blast furnace in Europe and one of the UK’s top five highest emitters, is pushing for more action on climate change. But that’s exactly what SSI Steel and other energy-intensive companies in Teesside were doing in Westminster in July at the launch of our blueprint for a clean industrial future in the UK.

Alongside BOC, Lotte Chemical UK, GrowHow and others we make up Teesside Collective, a cluster of industries determined to establish Europe’s first Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) equipped industrial zone. Funded by DECC and advised by the best experts in CCS, we’ve now finished the business case, initial engineering studies and economic analysis for a shared pipeline network to capture, transport and permanently store emissions under the North Sea.

And it’s looking promising. The initial phase, which could be up and running by 2024, would capture 2.8 million tonnes of carbon per year – that’s a quarter of Teesside’s emissions and almost 60% of the Committee on Climate Change’s suggested deployment of industrial CCS by 2030. It would support 1,200 jobs in construction and help retain 5,900 jobs in our firms and supply chains.

Other Teesside industries would later be able to plug in, as would new plants attracted to the area by the infrastructure. An expanded network could capture and store up to 15 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2035 – more than all of Teesside’s current emissions and almost half of the Committee on Climate Change’s suggested deployment of industrial CCS by 2050. It would also create an additional 2,600 jobs in Tees Valley, £2bn in gross value added and £1.2bn in new exports.

As DECC’s Minister Lord Bourne said at our launch, “The market for chemical, plastic and steel is changing. Consumers are increasingly demanding low carbon products. The work Teesside Collective is doing is an important step in making the economic case…bottom line is these projects must be made commercially viable. ”.

This is a something that’s really driving Teesside Collective. My colleagues at Lotte Chemical have been told by Britvic Plc, for whom they provide the polyester resin for billions of drinks bottles each year that “Suppliers who account for their emissions in a credible way will present a fundamentally more attractive proposition in relation to their rivals”. Cleaner industry definitely makes better business sense.

The environmental agenda is no longer about the greens versus industry as it was in the past. Our launch underlined the broad coalition of support for our project, which has been welcomed in equal measure by WWF, the Committee on Climate Change, the CBI, EEF and many others.

Our industries face intense international competition day in day out and the nature of our processes are such that significant CO2 reduction simply cannot be achieved without CCS regardless of carbon price. But we also have our sights set on a longer term prize. The direction of travel on carbon reduction here in the UK and, increasingly, in rival economies is irreversible. Even before we know the outcome of December’s UN talks, it’s clear to Teesside Collective that the smartest firms are those who take steps first to reduce their exposure to carbon penalties. And grab valuable clean industry market share in the process.


  Of course, this is the same SSI Steel Plant on Teeside which has since closed with the loss of more than 2000 jobs, and an estimated 1000 more in the supplier chain.

Incredibly, SSI made their closure announcement on 28th September, just 19 days after DECC’s gleeful blog.


It must be obvious, even to the cretins in DECC, that SSI never had the slightest interest in carbon storage, and one suspects that a lot of arm twisting went on in the background to get them to sign up.

Although the taxpayer has funded the initial studies, it would have been SSI and the other companies which would have had to pay to modify their plant to in order to pump CO2 away. That fact would hardly have helped the financial case to keep the Teeside steel plant open.

Lord Bourne is clearly hopelessly out of his depth. Does he really think customers are demanding low carbon products? They will carry on buying where goods are the cheapest. That is why SSI have lost market share to cheap Chinese steel – the fact that China’s energy is far more CO2 intensive does not matter two hoots to firms buying their steel, or to the consumers who buy the end products.

As for his hopes of retaining 5900 jobs on Teeside, and creating even more in the long run, there is more chance of Southend United winning the FA Cup!

Meanwhile, I am sure taxpayers will be highly delighted that their hard earned money has helped to fund this whole ridiculous enterprise.


Bourne and many of his colleagues are living in a bubble of their own making, and doing immense damage to the UK economy as a result. It is time DECC was shut down completely, and energy policy passed to the Business Dept.

Unfortunately for the workers on Teeside, Bourne has succeeded at a stroke in cutting CO2 emissions.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    January 28, 2016 7:59 pm

    Press releases such as that one by DECC are *not* for the benefit of the companies they report about; they’re solely a job-preservation opportunity for the bods at DECC to try to convince readers that DECC ‘does something’, anything.

  2. January 28, 2016 8:04 pm

    Nice catch. Pretty damning.

  3. John Ellyssen permalink
    January 28, 2016 8:09 pm

    I wonder what research went into the results of storing all that carbon under the north sea and in what form (particulate debris, gaseous storage (under pressure?))? What are the projected costs of building the storage area, transmission pipes and infrastructure? What kind of environmental impact could that have, maybe to the fish (sorry, that last was facetious).

    • January 28, 2016 8:38 pm

      As fish are not owls……..they don’t give a hoot !!

      (I’ll close the door on my way out )

  4. Paul2 permalink
    January 28, 2016 8:44 pm

    Well you know what they say – be careful what you wish for. Best of luck to ’em. Not.

  5. Adam Gallon permalink
    January 28, 2016 8:47 pm

    Adam Gallon — 28/01/2016

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    This the plant that’s just closed?
    That’s reduced it’s plant food emissions by 100%.
    Reduced the number of jobs by the same amount too, another success for The Green Blob

    Chances of this passing moderation?

  6. January 29, 2016 1:17 am

    CCS under the North Sea – that would be in the tertiary floods of North Sea oilfields, just like the Saskatchewan “worldclass” CCS project?

    You can’t put liquids or gases into rock at stabilized, geologically normal conditions. You have to find an underpressured zone. There are some high perm zones that connect updip at surface that have lower pressures than tight formations above them – but they are open systems, obviously. The only sealed, lower pressure than normal (underpressured) are depleted oil and gas reservoirs.

    If the zone is normally pressured, which means in equilibrium with its upper and lower boundary units, increasing the pressures will destabilize the system. Upper and/or lower seals will fail – fracture – and you will have cross-flow, it’s called. If you are trying to control your injection fluid (which CO2 will be at the injection pressures at the “sandface” or injection target) creating a high-perm pathway out of your system is not what you want.

    The coal-to-gas Scottish project will work if you can tie in a CO2 flood. Since we are going to be using fossil fuels for decades, it’s a shame that the taxpayers’ money can’t be going to a local oil pool rather than to the mid-East.

  7. NeilC permalink
    January 29, 2016 9:10 am

    “…our blueprint for a clean industrial future in the UK.” Yup, close all of industry and the non existant CO2 problem goes away.

    Who do these civil servants think the money comes from to pay them – it will soon be the non industrial – private sector.

  8. Derek Buxton permalink
    January 29, 2016 10:44 am

    Yet another “yes” man promoted well above his ability, if any! Where do they find these idiots? It is perfectly clear that any attempt at CCS is doomed on the basis of cost alone. if it could be done, unlikely, the cost would be prohibitive and end up on our bills. The whole group seem to think we are a bottomless pit of money for them. Time to close DECC indeed and save whatever scraps of industry we have left.

  9. nightgaunt49 permalink
    February 1, 2016 9:23 pm

    Since the carbon was already stored before they cut it or pumped it out to be burned wouldn’t it be logical and cheaper to just leave it in the ground and move on to non-carbon emitting power sources?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      February 1, 2016 9:58 pm

      So what non-carbon emitting power sources did you have in mind, that can do the job? Nuclear is years off and there don’t seem to be any other practical methods.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      February 2, 2016 1:18 am


      Steel making requires CARBON.

      And coal DOES NOT emit “carbon”, never has and never will.

  10. February 3, 2016 3:22 pm

    Ask Professor Paul Younger about it , next time…He’s the BBC’s go to man on Tyneside and CCS
    He’s often on with Jim Alkili etc.

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