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Yanchang CCUS – where great minds meet

Monday, 24 April 2017

There is an old Chinese proverb which goes: “One more friend is another way out”.

This centuries’ old adage took on special meaning as more than 100 global dignitaries gathered in Xi’an last month for a one-day CCUS symposium to coincide with the announcement that China’s first large-scale CCUS facility – Yanchang CCUS – would proceed to construction.

Held in Shaanxi Parliament, the Global CCS Institute/Yanchang Petroleum CCUS Symposium gathered representatives from the Chinese, Australian and US Governments as well as representatives from the US Department of Energy (DoE), the International Energy Agency (IEA), CNOOC, Sinopec, the Clean Air Task Force, and the World Bank (amongst others) to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing CCS today. 

Global CCS China Country Manager, Xiangshan Ma, was quick to remind attendees at the one-day workshop that this “meeting of minds” was an opportunity to find new ways of solving CCS’ challenges.

“We need to ensure that CCS becomes better known, better understood, and better supported. With cooperation, we have a brighter future.”

Attendees very quickly formed alliances which will be instrumental in overcoming the various obstacles faced by CCS as the world strives to meet the `below 2 degree’ climate change target.

Said Liu Qiang from the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation: “We need to lift up public awareness”.

Said Dou Hongen from the Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED): “We need to educate – through TV, media, all channels. We need to promote CCUS wherever we can.”

International Energy Agency CCS Analyst, Samantha McCulloch, summarised the current challenge succinctly: “No new projects have entered construction since 2014. The pipeline has frozen. This is significant and tells us that we have to do things differently.”

Unfreezing the pipeline is why the Institute and the IEA have partnered in a global roadshow which is raising awareness of CCS and its pivotal place in meeting international climate change targets.

At Peking University, earlier in the week, the Institute and the IEA had discussed how far carbon capture has come, referencing the IEA’s publication “20 Years of Carbon Capture and Storage” and the Institute’s “Global Status Report: 2016”.

Chinese media who attended both events were quick to seize on China’s emergence as a CCUS leader.

Global CCS Institute General Manager, Alex Zapantis, told media that China was reaffirming its emergence as a rapid climate change mitigatory and Yanchang CCUS was testament to China and Yanchang Petroleum’s conviction.

Bloomberg, the international news wire agency, ran a comprehensive article about China’s lead in the next wave of global CCS projects, and Yanchang CCUS facility’s importance as China’s first, large-scale CCUS endeavour.

Quoted by Bloomberg, Global CCS Institute senior advisor Tony Zhang, said: “When complete, Yanchang will capture about 410,000 metric tons of carbon per year. It’s one of eight large-scale CCS facilities in varying stages of evaluation and approval in China.”

Said McCulloch: in 2020, China will have 330 gigawatts of coal-fired plants that could potentially be retrofitted with emission-reduction technology.”