The Quest project at an oil sands operation in the province of Alberta joins the ranks of 15 operational projects – on gas production, power and industry – that together will have captured up to 28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) this year. Developers such as Shell and others around the world must be applauded for seeing these “trailblazing” projects through to completion. Not only will they demonstrate this already proven technology to a wider public and governments worldwide, but they are already sharing information and learning, which is reducing costs and increasing confidence for the next phase of commercial-scale CCS projects internationally.
The climate commitments made by countries ahead of the Paris climate talks (COP21) will provide less than half of the carbon emissions reductions needed, and only three nations cite CCS in their climate plans. SCCS welcomes both the start-up of the Quest project and the GCCSI’s findings, which conclude that CCS is an essential part of a “portfolio of low-carbon technologies” that will help economies worldwide achieve carbon targets at least cost.
Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:
Last month, we helped deliver an open letter to the UNFCCC from an international group of scientists, who gave reassurance that the geological storage of CO₂ is both safe and secure. Projects such as Quest, and those currently under construction, will show that the full chain of CCS technologies is available and deliverable now.
We wholeheartedly agree with the GCCSI’s conclusion, and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum announcement earlier this week, that it is now time for more governments to enact their commitment to CCS. In the UK, we have two commercial-scale projects, Peterhead – another project in Shell’s CCS portfolio – and White Rose led by Alstom, poised to begin construction once the UK Government confirms its own commitment through the £1 billion CCS Commercialisation Programme. Backed up by a crucial Contract for Difference, these projects will deliver low-carbon electricity at market prices.
With carbon emissions already forcing global changes and erratic severe weather, the capture and storage of CO₂ at large scale offers a realistic, rapid and affordable route to decarbonising the world’s power and industry sectors.