Technology: Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage: Game-Changing Technology for Africa (By NJ Ayuk)
Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology presents an important opportunity for the oil and gas industry in Africa. With many oil and gas-producing countries under pressure to shift to green energy sources and leave their petroleum resources untouched, CCUS can provide a solution for African states to attract international oil companies and benefit from their hydrocarbon wealth while reducing emissions and promoting responsible fossil fuel use.
It is vital for African governments to adopt CCUS technology to keep up with global emissions-reduction goals, as stated by the African Energy Chamber (AEC) in their recent discussion on the topic. While the implementation of CCUS will require collaboration and financial support, the rewards will be immense for the continent’s energy industry and the African people.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the value that carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology offers Africa’s oil and gas industry. With oil and gas-producing countries facing tremendous pressure to transition to green energy sources and leave their petroleum assets in the ground, CCUS can act as a lifeline for their energy industries. The technology offers African states a way to continue attracting international oil companies (IOCs) and to prosper from their vast hydrocarbon wealth while simultaneously meeting global emissions-reduction goals and setting an example for responsible fossil fuel extraction and use.
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) discussed this topic in-depth last July when we, in collaboration with the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), hosted a webinar on CCUS technology and the key role it will fulfill for Africa’s oil and gas industry in the years to come. We will make CCUS a key point at African Energy Week and our advocacy work with African governments and also the energy industry. We should not shy away from taking the lead on this.
During the webinar, Jean-Patrice Bellier, an associate partner in the energy and ESG practices at consulting company Bain & Company, spoke bluntly about the need for African CCUS adoption as soon as possible. “Limiting the global temperature rise in line with the Paris agreement is impossible without carbon removal, forcing countries and firms to consider CCUS,” Bellier said.
But CCUS is not a burden, it’s an opportunity. As AEC advisory board member Rolake Akinkugbe pointed out, CCUS is a significant draw for investors. “You need to incentivize companies to be willing to invest, so you need to get the public companies on your side,” said Akinkugbe-Filani, who also is the chief commercial officer at real estate company Mixtra Africa. “Before large-scale oil and gas projects reach final investment decisions, they need to include CCUS and I see huge opportunities in this regard.”
CCUS technology manages to capture the carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels or as a byproduct of the industrial manufacturing processes behind products such as cement and steel. Pipelines or ships then transport the compressed carbon dioxide for storage within deep underground rock formations like saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas reservoirs.
The CCUS process prevents carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. The same forces that hold oil and gas within the Earth’s crust for millions of years can trap the captured carbon permanently, or other industries can make use of it in the production of synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, alcohol, or long-lasting plastics and adhesives.
Incorporating CCUS technology into the game plan for the future of Africa’s oil and gas industry offers multi-faceted benefits. While the expansion of hydrocarbon operations in Africa faces much opposition from environmental activists and Western powers, CCUS provides an alternate path allowing African oil and gas production to continue. CCUS integration with natural gas-fueled power generation can also bolster our efforts to eradicate energy poverty and foster socioeconomic growth across the continent
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