Total invests in CO2 capture and storage

CO2 can be used to improve the productivity of oil wells. ©Total

Total has signed a partnership with great ambitions for energy efficiency and ecology. The French oil company is launching a €40 million R&D programme with IFP Energies nouvelles. The carbon dioxide capture and storage sector is considered fundamental towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The programme, which spans five years, is intended to reduce the cost of infrastructure and improve the chain’s energy efficiency to secure its large-scale development. Rather than being stored, the CO2 can also be used, for example, to improve the productivity of oil wells. This is done in Texas, for example, or in the food industry, when producing carbonated drinks.

Slightly more than 30 million tonnes are collected each year worldwide from large carbon dioxide emitters in the energy, steel, chemical and construction sectors. The International Energy Agency foresees a quick ramp-up to reach 2.3 billion tonnes captured and stored by 2040. This scenario would be in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Although initiatives such as this innovative partnership are proliferating, they remain few in number and are generally largely subsidised, for lack of profitability. Total and other groups in the sector are calling for the introduction of an international carbon tax that would make the activity profitable. Some 450 million tonnes could be captured and stored worldwide with a subsidy of less than $40 per tonne, the IEA estimates.

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