Insights and Commentaries

Insights and Commentaries

“Is CCS/CCUS ready for prime time?” subject of Pittsburgh CCUS Conference

15th June 2015

Topic(s): Carbon capture, Communication, use and storage (CCUS)

The Institute’s Neil Wildgust, Principal Manager – Storage and Ron Munson, Principal Manager – Capture presented the Global Status of CCS and the reasons why CCS/CCUS is ‘ready for prime time’ at the Fourteenth Annual Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) Conference held 28 April – 1 May in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In this Insight, Neil Wildgust reports on the conference and the Institute’s presentations.

“Is CCS/CCUS Ready for Prime Time?” was the question posed by convenors of the Fourteenth Annual CCUS Conference held 28 April to 1 May 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference, which was attended by more than 300 delegates, featured morning plenary presentations followed by technical sessions comprised of both talks and posters. As in previous years, the Global CCS Institute co-sponsored the event and presented at the conference.

An hour-long Institute-led plenary session on the morning of Thursday, April 30 outlined the global status of CCS and the reasons the Institute regards CCS as ready for "prime time". To underline CCS readiness, the session presented positive views from both the province of Alberta, Canada – a prominent supporter of CCS – and Shell, a global CCS project developer.

James E. Allen, Assistant Deputy Minister, Electricity and Sustainable Energy Division for Alberta Energy, set out the commitment to CCS made by the province in a keynote presentation that opened the session. Alberta has committed approximately CAD$1.3 billion to CCS through grants to large scale projects, including Quest and the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line. Mr Allen noted that this has been a huge financial commitment for a province of four million people and underlines the importance that Alberta places in CCS technology as a means to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Alberta has also played a leading role, both within Canada and the wider international arena, in the development of CCS regulations and accounting offset protocols, and continues to fund applied research through Alberta Innovates Corporations. Alberta’s efforts to advance CCS technologies will result in tangible greenhouse gas emission reductions later this year with the launch of the Quest project.

Luc Rock, from Shell Canada gave an update on CCS projects within the Shell portfolio, namely, the Quest project in Canada, the proposed Peterhead project in Scotland, and the Gorgon project in Australia. The Quest project, which will capture about one million tonnes of CO2 per year associated with upgrading oil sands, has been in the ‘Execute’ phase since September 2012. Pipeline installation was completed in August 2014, and final mechanical completion was achieved in February 2015, with start-up planned in Q2/Q3 2015 and commercial operation by year-end. Mr Rock also provided brief updates on progress made for the major projects at Gorgon (Australia) and Peterhead/Goldeneye (United Kingdom).

The final presentation in the session was made by the Global CCS Institute’s Ron Munson, Principal Manager-Capture together with myself as Principal Manager-Storage. Ron set out the status of CCS projects around the world. He also discussed some Institute work priorities related to capture technology development efforts aimed at driving down costs and improving energy performance. I completed the presentation with a brief overview of the storage work program within the Institute, particularly a review of storage resource assessment methodologies and surveys around the world that will form the basis for the storage section in the Institute’s 2015 annual status report on CCS.

The session concluded with a brief period for questions from the audience. The session presenters discussed how CCS/CCUS could move forward into commercial deployment with appropriate financial and regulatory support. Although the majority of large scale projects in construction or operation are in North America, in part due to the many opportunities for CO2 utilisation in enhanced oil recovery, other world regions are making progress towards deployment, with China the outstanding example.

In an afternoon session, the status and developments of the European CCS Demonstration Project Network were presented by Zoe Kapetaki, the Global CCS Institute’s Technical and Knowledge Sharing Advisor based in Brussels. Ms Kapetaki highlighted Network project activities on CO2 use and presented comparisons of the approaches taken by Europe, the US and rest of the world regarding specific CCS elements.

A sad note at the conference was the memorial tribute Llewellyn King, Exchange Monitor Conference Chair, paid to Ed Helminksi, the former CEO of Exchange Monitor Forums and Publications and the driving force behind the conference. Mr Helminski will be greatly missed by his many friends in the CCUS world, both in North America and beyond.

Back to Insights


Get the latest CCS updates