Wed.
Sep 22
2021
carbon capture
Image: CNOOC Limited

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), China’s largest offshore oil and gas producer, has announced the launch of its first offshore carbon capture and storage project amid a global push to cut emissions.

The announcement comes as United States climate envoy John Kerry is set to visit to the Asian nation to discuss commitments in carbon reduction.

The project will be located in the South China Sea and will store more than 1.46 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The project is designated as one of the auxiliary facilities at Enping 15-1 oilfield in the Pearl River Mouth Basin and will store around 300,000 tonnes of CO2 per year in seabed reservoirs – a volume that should mark a significant step in decreasing emissions in the area.

The emissions will reportedly be stored underwater and sealed in a saltwater layer at a depth of 80 metres. The engineering solution also suggests that China could increase its usage of offshore carbon capture projects in the future.

China is the world’s biggest CO2 emitter, and Beijing has vowed to reach carbon neutrality by around 2060. To achieve that, as much as 1.82 billion tonnes of CO2 needs to be cut via carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) each year by that time. While coal emissions remain the elephant in the room for the largest Asian nation, every bit helps.

Recently, there have been multiple reports about Chinese companies allocating additional resources to address climate change issues and facilitate the transition to green energy.

Last week, CNOOC Limited, an arm of CNOOC, announced that it would channel up to 10% of annual spending to green energy during the next four years.

Many other Chinese companies have been exploring carbon capture and other solutions at their oilfields onshore to reduce their carbon footprint. For instance, Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, estimates that it could inject 10.68 million tonnes of the climate-warming gas into an oilfield over the next 15 years.

Sinopec also revealed plans last week to spend $4.6 billion on clean-burning hydrogen energy to 2025, according to Reuters. The company plans to start producing green hydrogen for use as a transportation fuel, as well as for its own refining operations. Chairman Ma Yongsheng pledged expansion into making hydrogen from renewable energy, or “green” hydrogen, as opposed to using fossil fuels which are the current industry standard. Sinopec currently has 20 hydrogen filling stations with another 60 in construction or at the planning and approval stage, according to Reuters.

The measures are welcome and necessary steps. China continues to have a major issue with coal consumption and emissions, yet it’s certainly progress to see corporates in other fossil fuels take firmer steps towards cleaner energy.

By Dimitri Frolowsckii

Dimitri Frolowsckii is a political analyst and consultant.

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