Big oil companies have been familiar with carbon capture for decades now. They have been feeling the pressure to remain relevant and profitable in a world that is transitioning to clean energy technologies. Big oil carbon capture efforts have been expanding so companies often come together in joint ventures to finance carbon capture infrastructures with the goal to reduce their emissions impact.
Exxon is counting on CCS as the main way for achieving its greenhouse gas reduction goals. So far their captured emissions have been utilized mainly for enhanced oil recovery. Now, Exxon is organizing 20 carbon capture projects in a new business called Low Carbon Solutions (LCS). LCS’s goal is to put forward plans for CCS opportunities around the world. Furthermore, the company recently announced a $3 billion investment in new CCS projects over the next 5 years. It said that it sees carbon capture as a $2 trillion market by 2040.
Chevron announced plans in March 2021, to collaborate with Schlumberger, Microsoft and Clean Energy Systems to build a bioenergy with CCS facility. The project came after a local policy called for a suspension of agricultural waste burning by 2025. The new facility is expected to use ~200,000 tons of agricultural waste annually and remove about 300,000t of CO2.
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Royal Dutch Shell is a partner in the Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in Australia. When finished, it will include the world’s largest CCS operation. Gorgon is also the largest single resource project in Australia’s history. It is operated by Chevron Australia and is a joint venture of the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (47.3%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%) and JERA (0.417%). The project plans to capture 3 to 4 million tons of CO2 per year.
The Northern Lights project is a joint venture between Equinor, Shell, and Total. It builds the transportation, receipt and permanent storage network of CO2 in a reservoir underneath the North Sea. The project is on the way to become the first ever CO2 storage with capacity to store emissions from multiple industrial facilities – both local and European.
BP announced in 2019 its participation in the Clean Gas Project also called the Net Zero Teesside Project. It is the world’s first natural gas power plant with CCUS. The CO2 from power generation is captured and transported by pipeline for storage in a formation under the Southern North Sea.The project is a strategic partnership of BP, Eni, Equinor, Occidental Petroleum, Shell, Total and OGCI Climate Investments.
BP also supported UK tech firm C-Capture, creating innovative chemical processes that can remove emissions from industrial facilities. BP Ventures, along with UK power plant owner Drax and IP Group raised $4.6 million so that the company could continue advancing its technology. A trial of C-Capture’s technology is currently in development at Drax’s power station in Yorkshire, UK.
Apart from taking part in the Northern Lights and Clean Gas projects, Total launched an innovative carbon capture project in 2019. It is called the “3D” project for capture and storage of CO2 on an industrial scale. It is located in Dunkirk. The facility could accommodate up to 10 million tons of CO2 per year by 2035. The company is also looking into partnerships for CO2 reuse in food production, as a demand-side solution to the cost of capturing it.
The Spanish oil and gas giant Repsol SA is exploring the potential of a big geological carbon capture and storage project in Sakakemang Block located in South Sumatera. The company’s investment to develop the field is forecasted at $359 million. The project when completed will allow the capture of 2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
In 2020 the company announced an investment of $90 million for two new plants. The first one is for fuel production from green hydrogen and CO2 captured at the Petronor refinery in northern Spain. Repsol owns the majority stake in that refinery. The second plant will generate gas from urban waste. The two projects are supposed to be some of the world’s biggest net zero fuels production facilities.
Russia’s Rosneft oil company is taking its initial steps into carbon reduction activities. In 2021 the company partnered with BP to collaborate on identifying and developing new low carbon solutions. They will examine opportunities into renewables, developments for carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen.
Big oil has recently increased its exposure to carbon capture. Blamed for climate change and their lack of commitment to its mitigation throughout the years, they have been looking into carbon removal technologies. The calls for change have only increased in recent years. As a result, the demand for fossil-fuel energy is dropping. Therefore, the oil industry has been facing bigger financial pressure to accelerate its transition into clean energy sources.