Recap: The Institute Attends MENA Climate Week 2023, Highlights Value of CCS in the Region
16th November 2023
As the low-carbon transition gains momentum globally, the need for CCS is becoming increasingly evident in industry dense regions, including in the Middle East and North African Region (MENA). This October, climate stakeholders gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to attend the UNFCCC’s MENA Climate Week 2023 (MENA CW) to offer their expertise, gather insights and take part in discussions tied to regionally relevant climate solutions, including carbon capture and storage.
CCS Takeaways from MENA Climate Week (MENA CW) 2023
CCS is being eyed by a wide range of heavy emitting industries in MENA to support decarbonisation plans. In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Energy has publicly committed to including the technology into its climate action portfolio, having recently announced its intention to develop a CCS cluster in the country’s industrial Jubail area, which will capture 44 million tonnes per year by 2035.
During a side-event focused on the application of CCS in cement and steel – which was organised in close partnership by the Global CCS Institute, the CEM CCUS Initiative, Clean Air Task Force and KAPSARC – the CEO of City Cement, Majed Abdul Rahman Bin Nasser Al Osailan, reiterated the vital role of the technology on the road to net-zero, highlighting that a rapid low-transition from industry will need to include CCS to succeed along that path. Echoing these sentiments was Rahma Alshamsi, Senior Heavy Emitting Specialist with the COP 28 Presidency, noting that the perception of industries often referred to as “hard-to-abate” can be misleading, at least from a climate solutions and technological point of view. CCS, having been in around for 50 years, has proven capabilities to reduce emissions. To fully leverage the value of CCS would require tackling the cost component, along with the development of policy and regulatory supports to enable investment further.
Although optimism was the main tone surrounding CCS discussions at MENA CW, experts also touched on the challenges to deployment that lay ahead. Industrial-scale CCS projects will require the development of business cases that keep the long-term commercial viability of projects in mind; profit opportunities long-term, enabling policies and the targeted stakeholder relations and feedback are all components to be included in this effort. During a fireside chat on financing, HSBC’s Managing Director of the Centre of Sustainable Finance, Zoe Knight, noted that the reliability of supportive policies will drive the finance sector to further lend their support, noting that CCS is already on the finance sectors radar.
Providing a UK perspective at MENA Climate Week on this item was Chris Thackery, Deputy Director for Energy of CCUS at the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero Deputy Director. The UK has notably exhibited significant commitment to lay the policy groundwork needed to scale-up CCS long-term. This has been illustrated through a £1 billion funding commitment to develop a national CCUS Infrastructure Fund, and a further £20 billion allocated in the Spring Budget to drive CCS in the country long-term. Business models will be key to seeing through CCUS projects, noted Mr Thackery. As it stands, the UK has developed comprehensive business models highlighting nuanced opportunities for varying sectors – from those in power, and waste – and how various parts of the CCS value chain can evolve in time.
International Efforts and National CCS Commitments at MENA CW
The conversations at the UNFCCC’s Regional Climate Week – including during MENA CW – will help shape the world’s first Global Stocktake (GST) at COP, which will subsequently inform the Nationally Determined Contributions. ENGOs, government representatives and industry leaders pro-actively contributing to CCS dialogues at MENACW will reflect the degree of which CCS will be reflected at the GST.
Promisingly, there was no shortage of proclamations by governments to dedicate resources towards CCS, enhance capacity building and shore-up knowledge sharing. During MENACW, the Saudi Arabian government, represented by the Ministry of the Energy, announced its will be latest government Member to join the Global CCS Institute. With the country’s target to reach net-zero by 2060, the membership reaffirms its commitment to tackling the climate challenge through collaboration, innovation and the adoption of proven technologies.
The Road Ahead
MENA Climate Week is only in its second year and already has developed a well-established arena for critical climate conversations to unfold, inclusive of CCS. With COP 28 steadily approaching, applying learnings to implement action on the international stage will be critical to secure Paris agreement targets. Industry and policy leaders and participants at MENACW 2023 have exemplified their commitment to do so, and the Institute will follow through on its mission to accelerate the deployment of CCS by proactively lending its expertise and driving capacity building, both in MENA and beyond.