The key conclusion of Riviera Maritime Media’s CO2 Shipping Conference, held in London on 6-7 May 2010, is that the shipping of carbon dioxide (CO2) gathered in carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects will happen. The 100-plus delegates from 17 countries attending the event also heard that, while the impetus for CO2 shipping is growing, it is not possible, as yet, to say exactly when this new gas carrier cargo will begin to move in significant quantities.
The challenges that need to be overcome before a safe and commercially viable shipping-based CCS scheme becomes a reality were the subject of close scrutiny in all the presentations. Armed with an understanding of these challenges, attendees thus departed the event with a good idea of not only the steps that need to be taken to realise such schemes but also those circumstances in which specialised CO2 carriers offer the optimum CCS project transport solution.
CCS projects will play a key role in global efforts to limit the rise in CO2 concentrations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over the next several decades. It is estimated that CCS projects hold the potential to reduce manmade CO2 emissions, which currently stand at 28 billion tonnes per annum, by up to 20 per cent.
Europe is poised to take a leading role worldwide in the adoption of CCS schemes as the European Union is committed to supporting up to 12 large-scale integrated CCS demonstration projects by 2015 through a major funding package and an appropriate regulatory framework.
Although discussions to date on CCS transport options have focused on pipelines, specialised gas carriers are expected to play an important part in the realisation of Europe’s carbon capture projects, at least in the early days. This is because there is an estimated 750 million tonnes of CO2 emitted each year from facilities located close to North Sea and Baltic Sea coastlines. Furthermore, there are not that many onshore locations in Europe with underground structures suitable for CO2 disposal but there are a considerable number of offshore oil and gas fields that could be suitable candidates.
Delegates to the CO2 Shipping Conference heard that one of the CCS schemes seeking EU demonstration project status is the Fortum-led FINNCAP project. The proposal, which is based on the capture of CO2 from the 500MW Meri-Pori power plant on Finland's west coast and the disposal of the CO2 in depleted North Sea oil and gas fields, has been envisaged as a shipping-based project from the outset.
Shipping is regarded as offering a more flexible alternative than pipelines due to the opportunities to combine CO2 sources with multiple storage sites, the less restrictive permitting requirements associated with shipping and the ability to bring the project onstream more quickly and at lower cost.
The FINNCAP project would require the services of two 20,000m3 gas carrier newbuildings to handle the transport duties. The ships would be built to the classic semi-pressurised/fully refrigerated (semi-ref) LPG carrier design and the Type C pressure vessel cargo tanks would enable the carriage of CO2 to the offshore fields at a pressure of about 7 bar and a temperature of -49°C.
The CO2 Shipping Conference, another industry-first event from Riviera Maritime Media, was sponsored by ABS, Anthony Veder and DNV and supported by the Carbon Capture & Storage Association, and Riviera’s publications, LNG World Shipping journal and LPG World Shipping.