Big Oil to launch initiative for ‘large-scale’ CCS

Source: By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, September 23, 2019

A coalition made up of some of the world’s largest oil companies is announcing a new effort today to jump-start the commercialization of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technologies.

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), which consists of 13 companies including majors like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, controls a $1 billion fund that invests in clean energy technologies and formulates voluntary climate action measures.

The group said members would aim to double the amount of CO2 emissions stored around the world by the end of the next decade, focusing at first on industrial hubs in the U.S., China, the U.K., the Netherlands and Norway.

The CCUS effort, dubbed Kickstarter, aims “to facilitate large-scale investment in a commercially viable, safe and environmentally responsible CCUS industry,” the member companies’ head executives said in a joint statement. They plan to unveil details at the U.N. climate summit today in New York City that will be hosted by Secretary-General António Guterres.

The group did not immediately outline whether the companies would contribute new funds to develop the technology. The initiative also is launching a joint “acceleration framework” with 11 countries supporting the Clean Energy Ministerial CCUS Initiative, which includes the world’s largest emitters.

Additionally, OGCI will present “progress” toward a voluntary target set a year ago, when the companies said they would cut the average amount of methane lost during oil and gas production by one-fifth, by 2025.

A study from the Environmental Defense Fund released a few months after that target was set found that it had excluded methane leaks from “non-operated assets,” which aren’t managed directly by the companies.

That asset type accounted for anywhere from 26% to 64% of their production (Energywire, Nov. 29, 2018).

Since then, members have collectively reduced their average methane “intensity” by 9%, according to the initiative.

“We are on track to reach our methane intensity target,” OGCI members said.

The group said it will undertake a parallel effort for carbon dioxide that escapes during operations. “We are scaling up the speed, scale, and impact of our actions in support of the Paris Agreement,” OGCI said.

The announcement follows several proposals from oil companies to develop projects removing carbon dioxide from industrial facilities or directly from the air. In May, Occidental Petroleum Corp. — a member of OGCI — announced plans for the world’s largest plant to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use the greenhouse gas in enhanced oil recovery operations (Energywire, May 22).

The 13 companies constituting OGCI are responsible for 32% of operating oil and gas production.