Total is getting into the carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) market. The company, which has pledged to dedicate 10% of its R&D budget to CCUS, recently signed an agreement to join Shell and Statoil on a project to study the world’s first commercial carbon storage facility. It aims to store 35 million tons of carbon emitted by industrial facilities — from a waste treatment plant, a cement works and a fertilizer plant, each discharging nearly 400,000 tons of carbon a year into the air — in the Oslo region over 25 years. The Norwegian government picked Statoil to lead the project; Total and Shell have joined Statoil as equal partners.
The project has even been scaled to accommodate up to 1.5 million tons of carbon a year, equivalent to the annual emissions of over 300,000 vehicles, in the event that other industrial operators choose to sign on. It will also help lower the cost of the technologies used, a major issue if the CCUS market is to grow.
In contrast to the first demonstration project for CCUS technologies in Lacq, which injected the carbon into a depleted gas reservoir, this time it will be stored in a saline aquifer at a water depth of 1,400 meters. In other words, a very large sand and saltwater field.
For David Nevicato, who heads up the program dedicated to carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in Corporate R&D, Total is laying the groundwork for the future. “We want to be a leader in this market if it emerges. In 2050, we must be carbon neutral to limit global warming. We need to devise effective solutions to curb carbon emissions.This project is the first that will enable us to build a viable, reproducible model for conducting other large-scale projects.”
“Our challenge is to design a competitive industrial project that lives up to our safety values while making sure to limit the environmental impact of the installations,” explains Bruno Seilhan, in charge of the area in Gas, Renewables & Power.
Climate experts estimate that several hundred billion dollars a year will have to be invested between now and 2050 to grow the carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry enough to achieve carbon neutrality and meet the Paris Agreement target of holding the average global temperature rise below 2°C by 2100.
“Total is integrating the climate challenge into its strategy. Total’s involvement in this first commercial-scale storage project, is thus fully aligned with our low carbon roadmap and our strategy to ultimately become a global CCUS leader”, says Philippe Sauquet, President, Gas, Renewables & Power and President, Strategy-Innovation. “The aim of this first integrated industrial-scale project, supported by the Norwegian Government, is to develop a viable, reproducible commercial CCUS model in view of carrying out other major projects around the world”.