Oil giant ExxonMobil confirmed on July 16th that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to take part in the Acorn carbon capture and storage megaproject in Scotland. Exxon also announced it has joined NECCUS – the Scottish alliance of industry, government, and academic experts dedicated to cutting carbon emissions from industrial facilities in the region.
“ExxonMobil has more than 30 years experience in CCS technology and is advancing plans for multiple new CCS opportunities around the world…We are pleased to support the Acorn Project in the deployment of CCS, one of the most important technologies required to achieve society’s climate goals,” said Joe Blommaert, president of Low Carbon Solutions at ExxonMobil.
With this agreement, Exxon’s emissions from joint venture gas terminals at the St Fergus complex at Peterhead will be captured and sequestered. That would result in the elimination of approximately 5-6 million tons of CO2 per year by 2030 from those gas terminals.
In total, there are three gas terminals at St Fergus, one of which is jointly owned by ExxonMobil and Shell and the other – by North Stream Midstream Partners. The MoU includes just two of them.
Acorn Carbon Capture And Storage Project
The Acorn project is one of the UK’s first large-scale carbon capture and storage facilities. It is expected to become operational in the middle of this decade and is about to be expanded to capture around 20 million tons of CO2 per year by the mid-2030s.
The carbon capture plant is also planned to join a cluster of industrial hubs close to the North Sea that account for about 80% of all Scotland’s industrial carbon emissions. The Acorn project is developed by Storegga’s (the carbon reduction champion) subsidiary Pale Blue Dot.
The subsidiary is in partnership for the project with Shell and Harbour Energy which are leading oil and gas producers in the UK North Sea. The project aims to establish an affordable carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production infrastructure to help Scotland achieve its net zero goal by 2045.
Exxon also mentioned that the Acorn Project “has the potential to provide more than half of the 10 million tons per year of CO2 storage targeted by the UK government”, with a chance for that to double “by the mid-2030s”.
Exxon’s carbon capture initiatives also include a proposed $100 billion carbon capture hub to be built in Houston – a home to various industrial facilities like power plants and refineries, and chemical manufacturing. The company also partnered with FuelCell Energy in a second joint agreement to develop cutting-edge carbon reduction technologies.
The collaboration of energy Giants like Exxon and Shell on major carbon capture and storage infrastructure project is an important milestone for the industry that aims to accelerate deployment. The more CCS projects solely for safe and secure geologic storage are being developed, the faster the sector could reach economies of scale and thus inject underground a larger amount of dangerous greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.