Grasping the CCS and Decarbonisation Nettle (and Thistle)

July has seen some major boosts for the CCS and decarbonisation strands of the energy sector with The Acorn Project Cluster and Viking CCS Cluster in the UK joining the East Coast Cluster and HyNet as the UK’s Track 1 and 2 approved CCS vehicles – CCS is clearly taking off in the UK.

Peterhead-based Acorn is a joint venture, benefiting from the collective expertise of Storegga, Shell Energy UK, Harbour Energy and North Sea Midstream Partners, with the closest access to the skills base and supply chain built up inside the North Sea oil and gas sector since the 1970s.

Across in the Middle East, ADNOC Group of the UAE and Occidental of the USA have announced plans to explore direct air capture projects in the UAE as part of the UAE-USA Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy project (PACE). PACE aims to unlock US$100 billion of investment by 2035 to support clean energy and carbon management projects.

CCS and decarbonisation will be central at two world-leading events in the Middle East in the autumn with ADIPEC Exhibition and Conference 2023 hosting a specialist Decarbonisation Conference and Decarbonisation Zone in Abu Dhabi on 2-5 October and COP28 being held in Dubai
on 30 November to 12 December.

The Global CCS Institute’s recent report, CCS Milestones on the Road to COP28, tracks the progress being made. The Institute is the world’s leading think tank on CCS and its Global CCS Report 2022 will be updated ahead of COP28. According to recent International Energy Agency (IEA) analysis, CCS capacity must increase some 100-fold by 2050 to help achieve net-zero emissions, requiring in the order of US$1 trillion of investment over the next 30 years. It has been a privilege to support the Institute’s bridgehead into the MENA Region working with Jarad Daniels and Mohammad Abu Zahra and the team.

In the interim, the SPE Offshore Europe 2023 event in Aberdeen and the dmg events Gastech 2023 event in Singapore, both during 5-8 September, have a heavy CCS and decarbonisation element and will bring the energy sector out of the summer period with powerful momentum.

It seems clear that the petroleum sector has been given a second chance by the demands of the energy transition, energy security, energy affordability triangular challenge but the accompanying social licence will only be sustainable if the sector grasps the decarbonisation nettle.