Factors influencing the successful deployment of CCS at refineries

Some of the refineries evaluated in the GCSSI report: Analysis of socio-political considerations of CCS.

As part of the REALISE project, the Global CCS Institute has produced a comprehensive report on how best to manage the socio-political risks of CCS projects and on the policy frameworks required to enable investment in commercial CCS projects. 

Socio-political issues have contributed to the abandonment of several CCS projects around the globe even where they were sound from a commercial or engineering perspective. The report highlights the importance of including socio-political risks in the project's risk management framework and of early engagement with local communities. 

“Socio-political issues should be treated with the same respect as other more conventional technical and operational CCS project risks,” says Matthew Loughrey, Principal Consultant at the Global CCS Institute and lead author of the report.

The report also calls for policies that de-risk the CCS value chain and support investment in CCS at refineries. Making a payment for each tonne of CO2 stored and helping operators manage the liability of CCS infrastructure in the long-term, for example by legislating mechanisms for the transfer of some forms of liability for stored CO2 from the operator to the state once certain criteria are met, could incentivise investment in CCS at European refineries.

“The successful deployment of CCS in any sector is contingent upon the presence of enabling policies and regulatory frameworks that overcome CCS market failures and ensure there is a business case for investing in CCS,” Loughrey says. 

To determine the suitability or readiness of a refinery to have CCS retrofitted to the plant, the authors have developed a ‘Refinery Readiness Indicator’ as a benchmarking tool that provides an indication of how close a refinery is to being “CCS Ready” compared to other refineries. 

The Refinery Readiness Indicator Score is based on seven differentially weighted criteria: policy and regulation; CO2 partial pressure and total CO2 emissions; distance to geological storage resource and transport mode (ship and/or pipeline); regulations for transport of CO2, both domestic and transboundary; potential to form a CCS hub, considering other nearby CO2 sources; location cost factor; and the presence of other active CCS projects in the host country.

“We find that the highest-scoring refineries are large (>2Mtpa CO2), adjacent to suitable storage and in countries with an enabling environment for CCS,” says Loughrey.

When they applied the Refinery Readiness Indicator to European refineries, the highest scoring ones were: Shell Nederland, The Netherlands; BP Scholven, Germany; PCK Schwedt, Germany; PKN Orlen, Poland; and ENI Taranto, Italy.

Because refineries have a range of CO2 point sources, it is likely that capture projects will be deployed in separate stages, with large gas streams with higher concentrations of CO2, such as from hydrogen production, being the first to benefit from CCS.

There are no fundamental technical barriers to the retrofit of CCS to refineries and reduce their annual emissions of CO2 by many millions of tonnes. “Governments have a key role in supporting the development of CCS infrastructure, which is essential to meeting ambitious climate targets,” Loughrey concludes.

Read the full report here: https://realiseccus.eu/file/299/download?token=7JixAiY9