Industry Calls For CCS Envoy To Accelerate Carbon Capture In EU

Industry Calls For CCS Envoy To Accelerate Carbon Capture In EU - Carbon Herald
Image: Christian Lue/Unsplash

Industry groups and major oil companies are urging the European Union (EU) to appoint a dedicated carbon capture and storage (CCS) envoy to promote this climate solution, although it is still viewed with skepticism, Euronews Green reported Wednesday.

CCS, which involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) at its source and storing it underground permanently, has gained popularity in recent years, but critics worry that a renewed focus on the technology would become another distraction from efforts to stop burning fossil fuels.

CCS Europe, a Brussels-based trade association, proposed the idea on May 15, highlighting the need for political leadership to meet climate targets.

Chris Davies, a former UK MEP and chair of the lobby group, emphasized the necessity of a representative with expert knowledge.

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), representing companies like BP and ExxonMobil, supports the call for a ‘CCS tsar’ to facilitate political coordination among member states.

Despite the EU’s Net-Zero Industry Act mandating an annual injection capacity of 50 million tons by 2030, the industry acknowledges it is not on track to meet this goal, with projected capacity at only 42 million tons if all projects proceed.

The largest current project, Northern Lights in Norway, has an initial capacity of just 1.5 million tons per year, while financial challenges and a lack of final investment decisions hinder the progress of numerous small pilot projects.

Relevant: EU Approves TEN-T And Paves The Way For CCS

According to Davies, the main barrier to unfolding the full potential of the technology is financial.

“There has to be a business case, and there has to be a degree of derisking if investment is to take place,” he said in an email exchange with Euronews Green.

Past failures, such as $460 million (€424 million) in EU funds wasted on unsuccessful large-scale projects, contribute to CCS’s image problem.

While Denmark and the Netherlands have committed public funds to pilot projects, awareness of CCS remains low in other EU governments.

Davies attributes previous project failures to the collapse of the carbon price under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which remains too low to create a business case without national policy support.

The European Commission envisions CCS playing a significant role, aiming to capture 280 million tons of CO2 annually by 2040.

However, environmental groups like Climate Action Network Europe caution against overreliance on CCS, arguing it diverts attention from proven technologies and may extend the lifespan of fossil fuel assets.

They call for a balanced approach, focusing on genuinely hard-to-abate industries while scaling up existing solutions.

Read more: Five Northern European Countries Sign CO2 Transport And Storage Agreements

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