NewEnergyNews: CANCEL THE CAPTURE, IT COSTS TOO MUCH

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    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    CANCEL THE CAPTURE, IT COSTS TOO MUCH

    NewEnergyNews reports so often on carbon-capture-and-sequestration (CCS) projects because there is a serious disconnect between what political leaders say about it and what is found in these stories.

    The project reported on here has been on the ropes for months.
    (See EXPERTS AT SEQUESTRATION CALL IT OFF) Now the two oil giants have officially abandoned the plans because CCS is too expensive. BP also recently cancelled a CCS project for the same reason. Yet political leaders go on promising the emissions problem is a pilot project away from being solved by “carbon capture” technology.

    CO2 is not a BYPRDUCT of fossil fuel-burning power plants. It is the PRODUCT. No CCS project has been shown to work at commercial scales. Also, the amount of CO2 to be captured is enormous and nobody has proven it can be safely sequestered.

    Given these obstacles, the oil companies’ announcement that as little of 2% to 5% more oil could be expected from wells injected with the captured CO2 is especially discouraging for CCS technology’s future prospects.


    Carbon-capture costs deter Shell, Statoil
    December 21, 2007 (UPI)
    and
    Oil giants abandon plans for ‘uneconomic’ green power plant
    Carl Mortished, December 22, 2007 (London Times)

    WHO
    Royal Dutch Shell, StatoilHydro

    Schematic of the proposed project's value chain. (click to enlarge)
    Illustration from DTI website.

    WHAT
    The 2 oil giants have cancelled plans to develop a new plant equipped with carbon-capture-and-sequestration (CCS) technology because it was determined to be too expensive an undertaking.

    WHEN
    The original plan was announced in March 2006.

    WHERE
    The plant was planned for the central Norwegian city of Tjeldbergodden. The wells to be injected were in the Draugen and Heidrun offshore fields.

    WHY
    - The plan called for the building of an 860 megawatt gas-fired power plant coal with CO2 capture capability. The CO2 was to be piped into nearby offshore wells but the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) injection was expected to produce no more than 5% more oil.
    - Bigger returns would be required since the cost of hydropower-generated electricity is low.
    - The oil giants were apparently expecting unspecified government subsidies to underwrite the costs of the project which did not materialize.
    - The prohibitive costs: drilling wells in 2 offshore fields, building pipelines to the an onshore power station

    The proposed plant design. (click to enlarge)
    Illustration from DTI website.

    QUOTES
    - Shell/Statoil joint statement on announcing the project: " [It would be] an important milestone toward our vision for greener fossil fuels."
    - Shell statement on canceling the project: "[Cancellation was due to] challenging economics for the gas-fired power station, coupled with a tight market situation with rising prices. In addition, significant financial support from the government would be needed for capturing, transporting and storing the CO2."

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