Opinion

Prospects for strengthening CCUS implementation in Romania

It is already well known that the CCS or carbon capture and storage is a way of preventing the accumulation of large amounts of carbon dioxide released by large industrial plants into the atmosphere.

Representing the National Institute of Marine Geology and Geoecology – GeoEcoMar, I have already presented in the frame of the 2018 SEE Upstream conference the geological storage of CO2, the areas of use, the state of implementation at global and national level, as well as the advantages of the method. The presentation was followed by an interview published in the Energy Industry Review print issue of May 2018.

An enlightening example of use for the benefit of the oil and gas industry is that of the United States, where CO2 storage is combined with Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). At international level, although there is progress, the widespread implementation of this process still suffers from economic impediments, mainly due to decrease in the emission allowances trading price. CO2-EOR has the most significant commercial potential among utilisation methods leading to permanent storage.

Apart the current CCUS projects: ENOS (ENabling ONshore CO2 storage in Europe), ALIGN CCUS (Accelerating Low Carbon INdustrial Growth through CCUS) and ECO-BASE (Establishing CO2 enhanced Oil recovery Business Advantages in South Eastern Europe), presented in the mentioned interview, GeoEcoMar is involved in a new HORIZON 2020 project: STRATEGY CCUS (STrategic planning of Regions And Territories in Europe for low-carbon enerGy and industrY through CCUS) which will start at 1 May 2019.

The STRATEGY CCUS project team, including GeoEcoMar specialists, will elaborate a detailed plan for comprehensive European CO2 gathering networks and industrial clusters linked to CO2 storage sites via hubs, pipeline networks and shipping routes, with due attention to national and border-crossing permitting and regulatory issues. Mapping and understanding the nature and longevity of emission sources, identification of transport corridors and performing initial impact assessments, and developing local business models for delivery of CO2 capture, transport, utilisation and/or storage (including the separation of capture, transport, utilisation and storage responsibilities) within promising start-up regions. Industrial clusters may include for example power producers, cement and steel factories, chemical plants, refineries and hydrogen production facilities. A hubs-and-clusters approach could also include the coupling of hydrogen production and CCS, possibly using common infrastructure. The assessment of cost effective (‘bankable’) storage capacity in selected regions is a key component of strategic planning, as it will provide additional certainty that the required CO2 storage capacity will be available when needed. Due attention has to be given to regions with potential for early onshore storage development (including enhanced oil recovery). Close cooperation with industrial players, as well as engagement with local stakeholders, is paramount. This includes identifying and involving relevant end users and societal stakeholders and analysing their concerns and needs using appropriate techniques and methods from the social sciences and humanities.

In order to facilitate direct contacts between representatives of the well-known companies from oil and gas domain and companies with significative CO2 emissions (>100.000 t/year) from the whole industrial domain: energy, steel, cement, i.a., as well as with important representatives of the Romanian administrative and political structures, the ECO-BASE project team will organize in Bucharest, on 17-18 September 2019, the international event: ‘ECO-BASE Seminar on Legal and Regulatory Framework of CO2 Utilization (EOR) and Geological Storage – South East Europe.’

The event will address relevant topics such as: Legal and regulatory issues in U.S. and Europe; Legal and regulatory in ‘ECOBASE countries’; Economic evaluation, business case developments and decision making; Decision making processes in the public and private sector; What stops CCUS and what are we going to do about it?

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