OPEC Toward a circular carbon economy

OPEC and the OPEC Fund at KSA’s International Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Conference By Dr Lilian Al-Bazaz

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he first International Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (iCCUS) Conference in Riyadh, KSA brought together world leaders and more than 600 government

officials with counterparts from the private sector. The event, which took place in February, was full of both people and ideas to help shape the future of the energy industry. The conference provided a forum to explore scaling-up carbon capture, utilization and storage, and to help move to a cleaner, more sustainable and technology- driven future. Ahmad Al Khowaiter, Chairman of the iCCUS Conference, stressed the need for change of thinking: “We must dispose of our conventional notion of a linear economy growth model as a once-through system and adopt the principles of a circular carbon economy model which values all options to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.” In his address to the conference, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, commented: “We believe that the oil and gas

industry can and must be part of the solution to climate change.” He also highlighted several carbon capture, utilization and storage projects in OPEC member countries. According to Al Khowaiter, realizing fully the value of CCUS remains a global challenge: overall costs need to be reduced, global storage capacity needs to be consolidated and appropriate policy instruments need to be implemented, to ensure widespread deployment of CCUS technology and meet its global climate change ambitions. Faris Hasan (left), Advisor to the OPEC Fund Director-General, spoke at the Conference and represented the OPEC Fund. Saudi Arabia’s inaugural iCCUS Conference was held under the patronage of the Kingdom’s Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Al Saud, and Bahrain’s Minister of Oil, Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

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G20 Energy Access workshop Faris Hasan, Advisor to the OPEC Fund Director-General, also represented the OPEC Fund in a G20 workshop on ‘Strengthening Institutional Cooperation on Energy Access’. The workshop held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, comprised a series of dialogues led by international organizations considering the challenges of universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. The workshop was a ‘side event’ in the run up to the G20 Energy Ministerial Meeting in September, and the G20 Leaders Summit in November, under the Saudi presidency. Hasan was invited to moderate a session on ‘Business models and financing for electrification’, which focuses on challenges and innovative financing mechanisms in relation to electricity access.

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) is a process that captures carbon dioxide emissions from sources such as coal-fired power plants, and either reuses or stores the carbon to prevent it from entering the atmosphere. According to the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGC), 19 large-scale CCUS plants are in operation worldwide. They capture and store around 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Because CCUS can achieve significant CO2 emission reductions, it is considered a key option within the portfolio of approaches required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This key technology, which is still at an early stage of commercialization, addresses multiple dimensions of the circular carbon economy model.

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PHOTOS: DMG EVENTS/Hammam Hamadain

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