Oil major Shell has pulled out of a green jet fuel development on the South Humber Bank.
British Airways and technology developer Velocys will continue to work together to secure finance for Altalto Immingham, having received planning consent last May.
They are also open to new partners joining, and will work together on government strategy.
Matthew Tipper, Shell’s vice president for new fuels, said: “We are pursuing multiple opportunities across our global portfolio. On this occasion, we have decided to focus our resources on other lower-carbon fuels opportunities which leverage our own technology.
“We will continue to work with the aviation industry and the UK Government, as part of the Jet Zero Council, to help decarbonise UK aviation. We wish Altalto every success in the future.”
The £350 million investment is proposed for Stallingborough, with 50 to 100 jobs and potential to scale up.
Henrik Wareborn, Velocys chief executive, said: “We are looking forward to moving Altalto Immingham to the next stage of development in 2021. Altalto Immingham is the most advanced commercial sustainable aviation fuel project in the UK and is ready to take advantage of the strong push from both government and industry for the decarbonisation of aviation, especially using waste feedstocks.”
New chief executive of BA, Sean Doyle, said: “Sustainable aviation fuel is vital to the decarbonisation of aviation and to helping us achieve our net zero target. The formation of the Jet Zero Council and the recent launch of its Sustainable Aviation Fuels Delivery Group are testament to the importance that the government attaches to SAF. We are excited to continue to work with Velocys, with the support of government and other private-sector partners.”
Strong funding interest has been indicated in the Oxford University spin-out, which went on to acquire a complemetary US operation.
Mr Wareborn told how preparations are underway to apply for significant government funding for the Immingham project, adding it was well placed to succeed.
Shell will no longer have an option over shares in Altalto Ltd, nor any rights or obligations in relation to the project, first announced in December 2018.
There is no direct financial impact on Altalto or Velocys as a result of these changes.
It remains to be seen if a new fuel partner could come on board. Phillips 66 Humber Refinery and Total Lindsey Oil Refinery – itself in the final stages of a buy-out by Prax Group – sit close by.