Six of the oil and gas industry’s biggest players have joined an effort to help Britain’s first carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) project become reality.
Working with OGCI Climate Investments, BP (NYSE: BP), Eni SpA (NYSE: E), Equinor ASA (NYSE: EQNR), Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS.A) and Total SA (NYSE: TOT) have teamed up for the Clean Gas Project.
The project, which is intended to eventually become the anchor for an industrial cluster in Tees Valley in northeast England, will use natural gas to generate power. CO2 will then be captured from the facility, compressed and transported via pipeline for storage in a formation underneath the Southern North Sea, OGCI said in a statement Nov. 28.
The initiative could also spark investment from companies wanting to utilize the CO2.
“The Clean Gas Project is an example of how industry can work together to bring forward proposals that support governments’ ambitions for CCUS,” said Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments. “We recognize the work and commitment by the U.K. government, the Tees Valley mayor, the TVCA [Tees Valley Combined Authority] and the South Tees Development Corp. to deliver the practical action needed to move CCUS forward.”
The partnership is part of a collaborative effort that involves the British government, which also unveiled plans to help develop the country’s first large-scale CCUS project by the mid-2020s.
The U.K. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said Nov. 28 it plans to invest £20 million to support construction of CCUS technologies, invest up to £315 million in decarbonizing industry, and begin work with the Oil and Gas Authority, industry and the Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland to identify existing oil and gas infrastructure which could be transformed for CCUS projects.
The government intends to give more details next year on its plans.
“The U.K. is setting a world-leading ambition for developing and deploying carbon capture and storage technology to cut emissions,” U.K. Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said in a statement. “It shows how determined all countries are to unlock the potential of this game-changing technology that representatives from across the globe are gathered here today in Edinburgh. The time is now to seize this challenge to tackle climate change while kick starting an entirely new industry.”
The news was announced Nov. 28 during a summit co-hosted by the U.K. and the International Energy Agency (IEA).
CCUS technology, which is not widely used in Britain and most other parts of the world, is seen by many as crucial to achieving net emissions reductions. The process involves capturing CO2 from sources such as power stations and other carbon-intensive industries like cement and oil refining, compressing it and transporting it via pipeline for use or storage, avoiding its release into the atmosphere.
“Without CCUS as part of the solution, reaching our international climate goals is practically impossible. CCUS can also enhance energy security and boost economic prosperity,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in the statement. “Yet up until now, progress has been muted and if this continues the challenges we face in the energy sector will become infinitely greater. That is why the IEA is bringing together industry, governments and our own technology network—as well as the investment community—to make CCUS a reality.”
Currently, there are about 16 large-scale industry CCUS projects and two power CCUS projects globally, according to the IEA. Most of these projects are in the United States. Five more are under construction. These include the Gorgon CO2 injection (Australia), Yanchang Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage project (China), Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical CCS project (China), Alberta Carbon Trunk Line with Agrium CO2 stream (Alberta, Canada) and the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line with North West Sturgeon Refinery CO2 stream project (Alberta, Canada).
CCUS accounts for 7% of the emissions reductions needed worldwide to 2040 in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario. “This implies a rapid scale-up of CCUS deployment, from around 30 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 currently captured each year to 2,300 Mt per year by 2040,” the IEA said.
The U.K. is among the countries actively working to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increases to well below 2 C (3.6 F) above pre-industrial levels. Its latest initiative was well-received by industry trade association Oil & Gas UK.
“Our supply chain is uniquely positioned to deliver cost-effective, competently engineered solutions for CCUS,” said Oil & Gas UK CEO Deirdre Michie. “As the U.K. government’s plan notes, our world-leading sector enjoys a highly skilled and experienced workforce, established infrastructure and existing support for the work of the task force.”
Michie called the plan “another example of how, at every stage of the U.K.’s energy journey, our pioneering industry continues to transform and adapt.”
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