IEA Report: Carbon Capture’s Role in Lowering Emissions for Oil & Gas Operations

Unravel the key insights from IEA's pre-COP28 report and explore how 8 Rivers is leveraging Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies to help decarbonize the oil and gas industry.

In May 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published A World Energy Outlook Special Report on the Oil and Gas Industry and COP28. The report, which the IEA is releasing now as a prelude to COP28 discussions this fall, emphasizes a few points that many of us working in the climate solutions industry are very familiar with:

  • Oil and gas operations remain a significant source of emissions – direct emissions from production contribute 15% of global GHG emissions, and more indirect emissions from the burning of fossil fuels comprise upwards of 40%.
  • This hard-to-abate sector must be decarbonized swiftly if we want to stay on track toward Net Zero goals – in fact, in the IEA’s Net Zero 2050 scenario, this emissions intensity must halve by 2030.
  • Tackling such a sizable reduction in emissions intensities requires a multi-pronged solution.

The Net Zero 2050 scenario notably does not include any offsets, credits, or other commitments and instead focuses on operational changes as the prevailing tactic for cutting emissions. In this report, it proposes “five key levers” for the oil and gas industry:

  1. Eliminating upstream methane leakage
  2. Ending non-emergency flaring
  3. Electrifying upstream operations
  4. Using clean hydrogen to decarbonize fossil fuel refining
  5. Implementing carbon capture utilization and storage technologies (CCUS) technologies

All five are essential for the sector to implement urgently. Still, this latest research and recent legislative action that will further limit industrial emissions could push heavy industries to adopt CCUS platforms.

At 8 Rivers, we welcome this momentum. We are ready to meet demand from oil and gas industry partners with deployable, scalable, and cost-effective CCUS solutions to measurably lower direct and indirect oil and gas emissions.

The Future: Affordable, Scalable Carbon Capture

Deploying CCUS platforms will immediately lower direct “scope 1 and 2” emissions from the oil and gas sector in three key areas: gas processing, refining, bitumen upgrading, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production. Referring to the Net Zero Energy 2050 scenario again, CO2 captured from these three applications alone will need to grow from around 25 MT CO2 in 2022 to 160 MT COo2 in 2030, with the largest increase coming from CCUS deployment in the oil value chain – both on-site at refineries and at external supplier production sites.

CCUS can also indirectly help the oil and gas sector eliminate non-emergency flaring emissions. In some instances, selling the captured natural gas to zero-emissions power plants can open another income stream for oil and gas companies, enabling them to finance larger-scale emissions reduction efforts more easily. Further, when added to a power plant, CCUS enabled-technologies like the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle can allow hydrocarbons, including natural gas, to be burned with nearly zero emissions.

Finally, as CCUS is deployed to support operational decarbonization at oil and gas sites, these organizations will actively create an early market for scaling these technologies. Oil and gas demand can enable CCUS to scale, bringing down the cost curve to make it more feasible for other sectors to adopt.

Of course, adopting new processes and pursuing infrastructure upgrades will rack up a hefty price tag. Looking at CCUS deployment alone, achieving the IEA’s 2030 projections will cost an estimated $100B, and maintaining that pace through 2050 will require continued investment. However, some of the levers the IEA is proposing – electrification, eliminating methane leaks, and ending emergency flaring — could catalyze additional income streams as well as emissions reductions, bringing the average net cost increase associated with implementing all five recommendations down to under 2 USD per barrel of oil equivalency (BOE).

Our contributions

At 8 Rivers, we believe that to combat the climate crisis, we must act now with the technologies already available. We are committed to solutions that can decarbonize our planet’s economy as quickly as possible and in a way that brings the whole of humanity forward.

Those principles are just some reasons why CCUS is integral to our technology portfolio and why we’re encouraged to see groups like the IEA assert the essential role these platforms must play to decarbonize oil and gas and other heavy industries. We’re committed to using CCUS to provide clean power, clean fuels, clean industry, and carbon removal that is scalable, cost-effective, and deployable today.

To learn more about the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle, 8RH2, Calcite, and our other world-leading technologies in our full suite of decarbonization solutions, explore our portfolio or connect with us – we’d love to chat!