China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) [SNP:US] launched the construction of the country’s first carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) project above one-million-ton capacity, as reported by Sina on July 5. The project, named after two of Sinopec’s subsidiaries Qilu Petrochemical and Shengli Oilfield, will begin operation later this year. The CO2 captured from Qilu’s refineries will be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), a technology that injects CO2 underground to increase oil output, at the Shengli Oilfield. According to Sinopec’s estimates, the project will utilize an accumulated 10.68m tons of CO2 and enhance oil production by 2.97m tons in the next 15 years, with an annual emission reduction of 1m tons of CO2.
Sinopec has recently accelerated the implementation of CCUS projects as part of its low-carbon transition under China’s pledge to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. The company currently has 36 EOR projects nationwide, and in 2020, it captured approximately 1.3m tons of CO2, about 300,000 of which were used for EOR. At its completion, the Qilu-Shengli CCUS project will become the largest CCUS project nationwide and significantly add to Sinopec’s CCUS capacity. In addition, the company plans to build more million-ton scale CCUS projects across its oil and gas fields in eastern China during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, to which the Qilu-Shengli CCUS project can contribute practical experience, commented Sinopec’s chairman, Zhang Yuzhuo.
Decarbonization of fossil fuel resources is a near-term priority of China’s carbon reduction scheme, according to an analyst at BloombergNEF. The country has been experimenting with CCUS since 2007 when PetroChina [PTR:US] pioneered the CCUS-EOR technology at its Jilin Oilfield. Subsequently, other state-owned energy producers such as Sinopec, Huaneng Group, and State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) also adopted the technology in their respective projects. However, according to the official roadmap for the development of CCUS technology released in 2019, CCUS in China is still at its pilot phase. By the end of 2019, the country had nine carbon capture demonstration projects and 12 carbon utilization and storage projects. The cumulative amount of CO2 captured and stored was 2m tons, behind the US’s 58m tons.