December 5, 2022
Overview of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Projects: Natural Gas Processing Applications
This is the fourth post in a six-part series that discusses carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration. The series covers topics including industry background; market overview and drivers; past, current, and planned carbon capture projects; and overviews of typical carbon capture technologies.
As of February 2022, there are approximately 27 operational carbon capture projects globally, with 13 in the U.S.1 Several additional projects are planned or underway, with more than 50 projects planned for the coming years.2 This post discusses several representative examples of planned and operational carbon capture projects in the natural gas processing industry.
Because raw natural gas typically contains various source-dependent concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), CO2 is typically separated from the raw gas during the purification process at natural gas processing plants and is typically subsequently vented to the atmosphere. There are several planned and operational projects where, instead of being vented to the atmosphere, the separated CO2 is captured and subsequently compressed to its supercritical state for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations and/or for long-term sequestration.
Representative examples of carbon capture and sequestration projects in the natural gas processing industry are discussed below.
- ExxonMobil’s Shute Creek Treating Facility (SCTF) in LaBarge, Wyoming, U.S., which came online in 1986, has captured more CO2 than any other facility in the world and currently accounts for 20% of all CO2 captured worldwide each year.3 The SCTF processes gas produced from the LaBarge field, which is composed of approximately 65% CO2, with most of the captured CO2 being sold for use in EOR operations in nearby areas. A US$86 million expansion of the CO2 capture facility, completed in 2010, increased the capacity of the system from approximately 4 million tonnes of CO2 per year to approximately 7 million tonnes of CO2 per year.4 ExxonMobil is currently planning an estimated US$400 million expansion project to further increase capacity by one million tonnes of CO2 per year.5
- Chevron, in partnership with ExxonMobil and Shell, operates the Gorgon liquid natural gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island off the coast of Western Australia.6 The plant includes an injection system for the sequestration of CO2 captured during the processing of the raw gas, which contains up to 14% CO2.7 The cost of the CO2 injection system, which has the capacity to store 4 million tonnes of CO2 per year, was approximately AUD 3 billion.8,9 Chevron reported that it hit a milestone of 5 million tonnes of CO2 sequestered in 2021.10 However, while the LNG plant came online in 2016, the CO2 injection system did not come online until 2019 due to technical difficulties, causing Chevron to miss its goal of 80% CO2 sequestration during the first five years of operation.11
- ExxonMobil has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to participate in the Acorn Project in Scotland. The project plans to capture 5 to 6 million tonnes of CO2 per year from the St. Fergus gas processing complex at Peterhead, Scotland, and sequester the CO2 in offshore gas reservoirs. The Acorn Project has the potential to provide more than half of the United Kingdom’s goal of 10 million tonnes of CO2 storage per year.12,13
- Santos has announced a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at its Moomba natural gas processing plant in South Australia. The estimated AUD 220 million Moomba CCS project is the first project to be registered under Australia’s emissions reduction fund, which recently made CCS projects eligible for carbon credits. The planned CCS facility, scheduled to come online in 2024, will capture up to 1.7 million tonnes of previously vented CO2 per year and sequester the captured CO2 in up to six identified storage sites within 60 km of the Moomba plant at an estimated cost of AUD 30 per tonne. Santos has indicated the CCS facility has the potential to scale up to 20 million tonnes of CO2 per year, and that it could store CO2 from other sources and third parties in the future.14,15
- Statoil’s Sleipner West facility, located in the North Sea off the coast of Norway, has been in operation since 1996 and is the world’s first offshore carbon capture and sequestration plant. The natural gas produced from the Sleipner West field contains up to 9% CO2, while Norway allows only 2.5% CO2 concentration before imposing export penalties. To avoid Norway’s CO2 tax, the facility captures approximately one million tonnes of CO2 per year from the raw gas and sequesters the captured CO2 in a reservoir below the sea floor.16,17
As detailed above, there are several carbon capture and sequestration projects worldwide in the natural gas processing industry that are in operation or planned in the coming years. Subsequent blog posts on this topic will discuss current and planned industrial carbon capture projects and provide overviews of typical carbon capture technologies.
1 Dayen, Dimitry, “Carbon Capture: Early Days of a $1 Trillion Industry?” ClearBridge Investments, February 22, 2022. Accessed September 20, 2022. https://www.clearbridge.com/perspectives/institutional/2022/carbon-capture-early-days-of-a-usd1-trillion-industry.
2 Norton, Kit, “Fueling Carbon Capture In the Oil Industry: Production, Net Zero And ESG.” Investor’s Business Daily, July 29, 2022. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.investors.com/news/carbon-capture-oil-industry-production-net-zero-esg/.
3 “ExxonMobil plans to increase carbon capture at LaBarge, Wyoming facility.” ExxonMobil, October 21, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://corporate.exxonmobil.com/news/newsroom/news-releases/2021/1021_exxonmobil-plans-to-increase-carbon-capture-at-labarge-wyoming-facility.
4 “LaBarge Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project.” Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies @ MIT. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://sequestration.mit.edu/tools/projects/la_barge.html.
5 “ExxonMobil plans to increase carbon capture.”
6 Eccleston, Roy, “The great carbon capture and storage debate: can Santos make it work?” Cosmos, November 2, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/energy/santos-carbon-capture-storage-feasible-ccus/.
7 Eccleston, “The great carbon capture and storage debate.”
8 Phiddian, Ellen, “Gorgon’s carbon capture shortfall.” Cosmos, July 22, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/earth-sciences/gorgons-carbon-capture-shortfall/.
9 Milne, Peter, “Chevron’s five years of Gorgon carbon storage failure could cost $230 million.” The Sydney Morning Herald, November 11, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/chevron-s-five-years-of-gorgon-carbon-storage-failure-could-cost-230-million-20211110-p597uf.html.
10 “Chevron Australia CO2 Injection Milestone.” Chevron Australia, July 19, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://australia.chevron.com/news/2021/co2-injection-milestone.
11 Phiddian, “Gorgon’s carbon capture shortfall.”
12 “ExxonMobil to Participate in the Acorn CCS Project in Scotland.” EnergyFactor Europe by ExxonMobil, October 20, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/news/acorn-ccs-scotland/.
13 Jacobs, Trent, “ExxonMobil Doubles Down on Carbon Capture in $3-Billion Plan to Lower Emissions.” Journal of Petroleum Technology, February 2, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://jpt.spe.org/exxonmobil-doubles-down-on-carbon-capture-in-3-billion-plan-to-lower-emissions.
14 Readfearn, Graham, “Can Moomba live up to the hype? Santos’ $220m carbon capture and storage project.” The Guardian, November 8, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/09/can-moomba-live-up-to-the-hype-santos-220m-carbon-capture-storage-project.
15 Eccleston, “The great carbon capture and storage debate.”
16 “Sleipner Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project.” Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies @ MIT. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://sequestration.mit.edu/tools/projects/sleipner.html.
17 “Sleipner gas field.” Wikipedia. Accessed November 20, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleipner_gas_field.
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Carbon Capture – A Capital-Intensive Technology with Large Growth Potential
This is the first post in a six-part series that discusses carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration.
Overview of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Projects: Post-Combustion Capture
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