IEA and China host high-level gathering of energy ministers and industry leaders to affirm the importance of carbon capture

High Level Gathering Of Energy Ministers And Industry Leaders

From left to right: Hon Jim Carr, Minister of Energy, Canada; Hon Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology, China; Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency; Hon Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, USA; Hon Terje Søviknes, Minister

BEIJING — The energy ministers of Canada, China, Norway, and the United States, as well as heads of delegation from Australia and the European Commission, along with leaders from the industry and key organisations, were invited by the International Energy Agency and China to review how to increase collaboration in order to drive further deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

The meeting was held ahead of the 8th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8), in Beijing. Ministers and panellists discussed the factors that have attracted investment to current CCUS projects and highlighted the importance of identifying where these factors could converge to replicate recent success with CCUS projects.

The discussion centred on the vital role of CCUS in reducing carbon dioxide emissions while ensuring energy security. Participants acknowledged the importance of revenue streams, such as from CO2 utilisation, available transport and storage options, and political leadership in securing investment in CCUS projects.

Hosting the event, Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director, said the IEA would undertake detailed analysis of the conditions and factors that have led to the investment in existing CCUS projects, and how they may be replicated elsewhere.

The countries represented in the discussion host 19 of the 22 projects currently in operation or construction globally. China, the host of the 8th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM 8), recently announced the beginning of construction on the country’s first large-scale CCUS project in Shaanxi Province. The Minister for Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, Wan Gang, co-hosted the discussion.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, “I don’t believe you can have a real conversation about clean energy without including CCUS. The United States understands the importance of this clean technology and its vital role in the future of energy production.”

“We have already seen the success of projects like Petra Nova in Texas, which is the world’s largest post-combustion carbon-capture system,” Mr. Perry said. “Our experience with CCUS proves that you can do the right thing for the environment and the economy too.”

The system at Petra Nova can capture 1.6 million tons of CO2 each year from an existing coal-fired power plant unit, a capture rate of up to 90 percent from a supplied slipstream of flue gas. By using CO2 captured from the plant, oil production at West Ranch oilfield is expected to increase from around 500 barrels per day to up to 15,000 barrels per day.

Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources said: “Carbon capture, use and storage holds enormous potential to enable economic growth and create jobs, while ensuring the environment is protected.”

“Canada hopes to continue working with domestic and international partners — including through the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation — to help us all address the technical and policy challenges around wide scale implementation of this important technology,” he added.  

The IEA has consistently highlighted the importance of CCUS in low carbon energy systems. “Our analysis consistently shows that CCUS is a critical part of a complete clean energy technology portfolio that provides a sustainable path for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring energy security,” said Dr Birol.

“Investment has flowed to CCUS projects where there is a confluence of factors which constitute a viable business case,” said Dr Birol. “We need to find more such opportunities, where a commercial case for CCS can be built with reasonably modest, well targeted public interventions.”

The leaders recognized the importance of CCUS technology as an essential tool in the global effort to achieve deep reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and prevent global temperature rises in future decades.  

Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Minister for Environment and Energy, and Matthew Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, who were unable to attend, said in a written statement: “Gas and coal will continue to play a significant role in both the global energy mix and industrial processes for the foreseeable future. The Australian Government is taking a technology-neutral approach to providing an affordable and reliable energy system as we transition to lower emissions future; and we recognise that carbon capture and storage has an important role to play.  In recognition of this, last week the Australian Government announced it will broaden the mandate of the Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to support investment in CCS technologies.”

The high-level discussion was held ahead of CEM8, a key forum for international collaboration on clean energy technologies.

“The CEM is unique in its capacity to consider the full range of clean energy technology solutions, and to combine efforts through joint initiatives,” said Dr Birol. “This makes the CEM an excellent forum to advance the role of CCUS in the global clean energy portfolio and to jointly raise the ambition level of participating countries in strong coordination with other multilateral platforms”.