A catalyser for decarbonisation: the essential role of carbon capture and storage

Reflections from the gas value chain

A catalyser for decarbonisation: the essential role of carbon capture and storage

By François-Régis Mouton, Chair of GasNaturally Steering Committee

With the announced increase of the EU’s 2030 GHG emission reduction targets to at least 55%, European and probably global energy policy is at a turning point.

While the new target will need to be endorsed by the Parliament and the Council, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement surely indicates the EU’s willingness to take leadership on global climate action. Encouragingly, ambitions are rising also outside the EU as proved by China’s recently communicated intention to become carbon neutral by 2060.

While these developments provide a clearer sense of policy direction, more attention needs to be paid to how these new bold targets can be concretely achieved. This is where institutions such as the IEA come into the discussion. The IEA and similar agencies release reports and analysis that help fuel an open and fact-based discussion among the industry, EU institutions and governments.

Policy-makers should take into consideration the conclusions of these publications!

One of the messages repeatedly given by the IEA is that a broad range of technologies will be needed to put the world on track towards climate neutrality. That’s the conclusion of two IEA’s recent reports: Energy Technology Perspectives 2020 and CCUS in Clean Energy Transitions. The latter emphasises the crucial role of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies to achieve a net-zero energy system. According to the IEA, CCUS provides four key contributions:

  • Tackling emissions from existing energy infrastructure;
  • a solution for sectors with hard-to-abate emissions;
  • a platform for low-carbon hydrogen production;
  • and removing carbon from the atmosphere.

What is clear is that the time is ripe to spotlight CCUS.

The entire European gas value chain is committed to supporting the deployment of this technology, essential for the production of clean hydrogen from natural gas and to reduce emissions from energy-intensive industries. To make this happen, a series of measures are needed:

  • Create more incentives and channel more investments; Norway is leading the way in this regard, recently investing the equivalent of around €1.5 billion in carbon capture and storage projects.
  • Put the emphasis on jobs and competitiveness: CCUS is vital to keep and create jobs in those industrial clusters that will benefit the most from this technology, such as chemicals, steel, and cement production.
  • Establish an enabling regulatory framework for CCUS: the upcoming legislative reforms of ETS, TEN-E and gas market regulation represent opportunities that must be seized.

This approach will be crucial to make the energy transition a success both at the European and global levels. Our industry is ready to play its part for a more sustainable future.