Based on data from the Global CCS Institute, analysis also indicates which countries are leaders in this process
Worldwide, 174 Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) facilities or projects now exist. This number breaks down into 51 facilities in operation; 18 commissioned, but not yet operational; 52 ready; and 11 under construction. The 42 projects have 23 in an advanced stage; 18 in the initial phase; and one is being planned. The data, compiled by the Global CCS Institute, show that CCS technologies are definitely on the radar of oil and gas exploration companies.
“The percentage of CCS facilities in operation, worldwide, is only 11%. The rest are either under construction or in the project development phase, which indicates a trend to increasing this activity over the coming decades,” states engineer Romário de Carvalho Nunes, Maintenance and Underwater Inspection Supervisor for Petrobras, who is taking his Master’s degree at the Energy and Environment Institute of the University of São Paulo (IEE/USP), under the guidance of Professor Hirdan Katarina de Medeiros Costa. Nunes is a researcher for Project 42A of the FAPESP Shell Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI).
While carrying out this survey, in association with studies by other authors, Nunes kicked off his research, in which he intends to show the importance of monitoring the integrity of those facilities via specific metrics and legislation. In his first article, published in the International Journal of Science and Research, he gathered data that reinforces this need.
Storing carbon in the Earth’s crust is a proposal that appeared in the 1970s, but that only gained importance after 1990. Besides making it possible to reinject greenhouse gases (GHG) into the ground, this technology is associated with the strategy for increasing the productivity of older wells or those that need more pressure. “The fact is that CCS is important to the strategies for lessening GHG emissions, as was already pointed out in the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By 2030, about 80% of the primary energy sources will still be associated with fossil fuels, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency,” Nunes says.
That means that the sustainability of the oil and gas sector depends on CCS, and the companies have already taken note of this. “The 18 largest CCS facilities now operating, worldwide, capture around 37 million tons per year, which is equivalent to the emissions of eight million cars,” Nunes explains.
Top 8 – The data compiled by the Global CCS Institute shows that it is possible to identify which countries are leading this movement, with plants in operation or being projected: United States (50); China (28); Canada and the United Kingdom (14, each); Australia (11); Japan, Norway, and Holland (7, each). What about Brazil? “So far, we have one large-scale CCS facility, in the Santos Basin, but this technology will likely be adopted on a greater scale by Petrobras. CCS will be essential when we achieve the apex of oil exploration in the pre-salt layer, with the production of 5 million barrels per day,” he states.
Nunes also raised another important point in favor of adopting CCS here. “Generally speaking, the concentration of CO2 found in the hydrocarbons of the pre-salt layer is between 8% and 12%, when the worldwide average is 5%. That means that without an adequate destination for CO2, we will have higher emissions.”
According to the researcher, the global CO2 storage capacity is not fully clear. In Brazil, a 2016 study, also mentioned by Nunes in his article, shows that of the five basins with the greatest potential for CO2 storage (Paraná, Campos, Santos, Potiguar, and Recôncavo), two are in the pre-salt region: Campos, which represents practically 80% of the nation’s production, and Santos, which will likely be the main producer of hydrocarbons by 2025. “Storage potential means: active production of hydrocarbons, theoretical capacity for CO2 storage, transportation infrastructure, and others,” he explains.
Another study, in 2014, points out that the Campos Basin theoretically has the potential for storing an estimated 950 Mt of CO2, which is equivalent to 3.5 years of the total emissions by stationary sources in the country.
By compiling the Global CCS Institute data, whose information is concentrated at the individual facilities, Nunes obtained a wide-ranging scenario of the adoption of CCS. worldwide. “I wanted to call attention to the importance of this technology and its increasingly intense use,” he says. “Which is one way of showing that it will be necessary to standardize this market as soon as possible,” he adds.