Oil and gas industry helps tackle climate change

  • Sep 16, 2021
  • Aera Energy

The oil and gas industry is taking the lead in helping California meet its ambitious climate goals.

Companies are exploring emissions reducing technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) which captures carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions before they enter the atmosphere — and permanently store them in designated spots underground or find ways to safely use them.

“The bottom line is the world is going to need game-changing technologies and CCUS is a great option,” said Tiffany Roberts, vice president, regulatory affairs of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) at a recent webinar on Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage.. “Academic and scientific communities have already said — if we are to meet the goals outlined by the Paris Agreement, to achieve carbon neutrality targets — the world must have a significant amount of CCUS projects deployed.”

In order to achieve those emission targets, the number of industrial-scale CCUS projects would need to increase to more than 2,000 sites worldwide by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2019 report.

It’s not a new technology – about 26 large-scale CCUS facilities have been operating since the 1970s and 1980s around the world with a CO2 capture capacity of 40 million tonnes per year , according to WSPA. They are critical to helping us meet our emission-reduction goals, but more needs to be done.

In 2020, 12 new large-scale facilities in development were added in the United States, but none are in California. That’s where the oil and gas companies big and small are stepping in – exploring new ways to take on their own CCUS projects.

The projects will help with a lot more than keeping carbon-dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere, Roberts said. They will help California secure its place as a climate leader, contribute to the state’s long-term energy transition, contribute to economic growth, job creation, protect the environment and air quality, and enhance energy security in California. It could create thousands of jobs and preserve thousands of existing jobs in California alone.

“California’s oil and gas industry is no stranger to innovation and is uniquely positioned to lead in this task, with a long history of aggressive policies for efficiency, renewable energy and carbon reduction, along with the geology and a leading workforce ideally suited to the task,” Roberts said.