LNG
Feature Articles
LNG Carbon Capture & Storage
July 2021
Greenhouse gas emission (GHG) associated with LNG have come under increased scrutiny from governments and market participants in recent years. Global LNG trade has more than tripled since the beginning of the century, while GHG emissions from LNG supply and end use had reached an estimated 1.25 Gt CO2-eq (~17% of emissions from natural gas) by 2020.

Expectations of tightening future regulations and emission standards are set to drive investment in GHG emissions reduction measures over the medium term. Meanwhile, emission intensity is emerging as a critical differentiator among LNG projects, as lower emission profiles are seen as a natural hedge against regulatory uncertainties.

 

LNG Value Chain Emissions

Emissions throughout the LNG value chain consist primarily of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide – three greenhouse gases. Emissions occur along the whole value chain and product lifecycle. GHG emissions associated with LNG can generally be categorised into five types: combustion-related, vented emissions, fugitive emissions, transportation-related and non-routine emissions.

Emissions can also be segmented operationally along the LNG value chain: upstream supply, liquefaction and production, shipping, regasification and downstream use.

 

 

The biggest share of emissions comes from the actual use and combustion of natural gas, accounting for at least two-thirds of total lifecycle emissions. Transportation distances also impact the level of potential fugitive methane emissions. This could be the distance from upstream field to LNG plant, from LNG loading port to destination port or from receiving terminal to end-user.

 

Upstream Production Emissions Focus

As far as most LNG suppliers are concerned, the emissions within their control are up to LNG delivery point, which could potentially account for one-third of total lifecycle emissions. Assuming the LNG supplier is also the LNG producer, the largest area to tackle with regard to emissions reduction is upstream gas production and the liquefaction process.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology can help address emissions from the upstream and production portion of the LNG value chain. Some LNG production plants currently have CCS projects associated with it, but many projects are trying to tag on a CCS unit to projects in order to make them more sustainable.

 

Key Operational LNG CCS Facilities

Currently only Snøhvit LNG in Norway and Gorgon LNG in Australia are using CCS in association with their upstream operations.

Qatar announced in October 2019 the commissioning of a CO2 recovery and sequestration facility in Ras Laffan with a capacity of 2.1Mtpa. The North Field East LNG project is set to be developed in association with a CCS facility, integrated into the wider CCS scheme in Ras Laffan.  Qatar Petroleum’s sustainability strategy states that the company aims to capture more than 7Mtpa of CO2 emissions by 2030.

Russia’s Novatek is currently investigating the potential to develop CCS-based solutions to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations associated with LNG production. The company is targeting a final investment decision (FID) by 2022.

BP is considering the development of the Ubadari field in Indonesia in association with a CCS project to supply Tangguh LNG. Besides CCS, the emission intensity of feed gas supply can be reduced through the mitigation of methane leaks/venting and the electrification of compressor stations along the transmission system.

 

Norway

In Norway, Equinor’s Snøhvit CO2 Storage facilities form part of the development of gas fields in the Barents Sea, offshore Norway. The Snøhvit field supplies gas to the world’s first LNG plant with CO2 capture and storage. Snøhvit LNG Project consists of nine wells, eight for production and one for injecting carbon dioxide. CO2 is captured at the Hammerfest LNG Terminal on the island of Melkøya, northern Norway, where the offshore sourced gas stream is processed.

CO2 is returned to the gas fields by pipeline for injection into the Stø reservoir at a depth of 2,600m.  The facility is designed to capture 0.7Mtpa.  More than 4Mt of CO2 has been stored to date since 2008.

 

 

Australia

Chevron’s Gorgon CO2 injection facility is part of the wider Gorgon LNG project offshore Western Australia (WA). The CO2 Injection Project is the largest of its kind in the world, and represents the largest greenhouse gas abatement project undertaken by industry. Reservoir CO2 is separated and compressed at the facilities located on Barrow Island and then piped a short distance to CO2 injection wells on the Island where the CO2 is injected into the Dupuy Formation beneath Barrow Island.

The CO2 injection started in August 2019. The CO2 capture capacity is at 3.4 – 4.0Mtpa and this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Gorgon Project by approximately 40%.  It is expected that 100Mt of CO2 will be injected into the Dupuy Formation over the life of the Gorgon Project.

Some 22 months after this CCS system start up, about 4Mt of CO2 has been sequestered.  The system has however never reached capacity due to problems with the pressure management system which Chevron expect to be operational this year.

 

 

Qatar

Qatargas currently separates CO2 in the Ras Laffan LNG production facility from its North Field. CO2 injection started in 2019. Ras Laffan has become the largest CO2 recovery and sequestration facility in the Middle East and North Africa region. The CO2 capture and storage capacity are approximately 2.1Mtpa.  Qatar is growing its CCS projects with a plan to store more than 5Mtpa of CO2 by 2025. The move is closely linked to the country's target of growing its LNG volume.

The North Field LNG Expansion Project will increase Qatar's LNG production capacity from 77Mtpa to 110 Mtpa, which accounts for an LNG production capacity increase of approximately 43%.  Production of first gas from the expansion project is expected by the end of 2023.