Carbon capture and storage hopes are pipe dreams, for now

Nov 23 – Carbon capture and underground storage (CCUS) is touted by proponents of fossil fuel production and consumption as the technology that will keep oil and gas in the global energy mix.

It is, and at the same time it isn’t.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) delivered a dose of reality on whether CCUS can be deployed at sufficient scale and with viable economics in its latest report, released on Thursday.

While the global oil and gas industry is well placed to scale up technologies to help achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the IEA warns of pitfalls.

One of those is what the agency, which represents developed nations, called “excessive expectations and reliance on CCUS”.

It called CCUS an “essential technology for achieving net-zero emissions in certain sectors and circumstances, but it is not a way to retain the status quo”.

The key word in the above quote is ‘certain’, meaning that CCUS is a viable technology to reduce emissions in some cases, but it is far from the silver bullet it is often made out to be, largely by major oil and gas producers and their supporters.

The IEA produced some sobering numbers in its report, The Oil and Gas Industry in Net Zero Transitions.

If oil and natural gas consumption does evolve as projected under current policy settings, the IEA said this will require an “inconceivable” 32 billion metric tons of CCUS by 2050.