DUBAI: There is “growing momentum” to global efforts to accelerate carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) techniques to help the world meet increasingly urgent climate change targets, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.
Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said global investment in CCUS techniques — which Saudi Arabia has placed at the center of its energy transition strategy — has already reached $4 billion this year, and will likely increase as pressure to meet international standards on greenhouse gas emissions intensifies.
“If oil- and gas-producing countries like Saudi Arabia make a big push for CCUS, it’s more than welcome,” he added.
“The issue is whether these technologies will reduce emissions in a timely and significant manner.”
Birol was speaking at a virtual event to mark the publication of an IEA report titled “CCUS in clean energy transitions,” which calls for a “profound transformation in the way we produce and use energy that can only be achieved through a broad suite of strategies.” He said: “We love energy, but we don’t like emissions. Energy is good, emissions are bad.”
The Kingdom’s energy strategy, which seeks to promote technologies and processes that actually remove carbon from the circular economy, will be on show at a virtual meeting of G20 energy ministers organized in Riyadh next Sunday.
Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman is expected to focus on the Kingdom’s efforts to develop technologies that eliminate carbon from the atmosphere, either storing it securely or using it in other industrial processes.
Birol said oil and gas producers have to manage a strategy that reconciles the requirements of their economies with long-term climate targets.
“It’s a very important task to see a marriage between the availability of energy and the need to reach target goals,” he added.
The IEA event was opened by Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, which this week launched an energy program called Longship, named after the Viking raiding boats that Solberg said were the leading technology of their day.
The project aims to cut emissions in oil-exporting Norway and other countries, and invest in CCUS technologies.
The IEA said CCUS will form a “key pillar of efforts to put the world on the path to net-zero emissions.”
CCUS techniques are already in use in Saudi Arabia at several of its oil-production facilities, and new megaprojects such as Neom will aim to achieve “carbon balance,” partly through the use of clean hydrogen as an alternative to traditional hydrocarbon fuels, as well as other forms of renewable energy.