American multinational ExxonMobil is reportedly set to expand its carbon capture and storage (CCS) pipeline, with a number of CCS hubs pitched for construction across Asia.
Low Carbon Solutions President Joe Blommaert told Reuters on Monday that the company is already in talks with several countries in Southeast Asia, with a view to developing carbon capture sites similar to one the firm is building in Houston, Texas.
Speaking at Singapore’s International Energy Week, Blommaert said Exxon had been ‘studying the concept’ of developing CCS hubs in industrial regions, capturing the carbon here before distributing it to storage facilities elsewhere in the area, using a network of pipelines or transport vessels to do so.
“Unlike in Houston, the storage capacity here is not close to the areas with the highest emissions,” he said.
Potential sites for new storage hubs include Indonesia and Malaysia, and Dwi Soetjipto, Chairman of Indonesia’s upstream oil and gas regulator SKK Migas, also told reporters earlier this month that Exxon is planning a CCS project at the Cepu block in East Java. Exact details of the planned hubs are, however, unknown.
The news follows Exxon’s announcement that it would be scaling up CCS capacity at its own Wyoming LaBarge facility, which already captures between six and seven million metric tonnes of CO2 per year – representing around 20% of global CO2 capture. The new expansion project is anticipated to capture a further one million tonnes annually, in a scheme valued at $400m.
CCS has been a crucial part of Exxon’s business plan for some time now, responding to investor pressure to transition to lower-carbon fuels and clean up its operations. Its offshoot, ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, was set up at the beginning of this year to expand its pipeline of carbon mitigation projects.
While CCS has not yet reached its full potential, it has been heralded as a potential game changer in the global efforts to decarbonise. A recent IEA report said CCS: ‘remains the only technology solution’ capable of significantly curbing emissions in power generation and industrial processes.
According to the Agency, the number of large-scale CCS projects in operation has risen to reach 15 in 2020, with six more expected to open their doors within the next two years. The size of these projects is also seeing an increase as investors turn their attention to the technology’s potential.