A novel blend of new technology and critical infrastructure will be required to sequester CO2 and hydrogen as part of the low-carbon energy transition and changing energy landscape. The transition will dictate a redesign of pipelines, along with greater resource optimisation across pipeline networks that requires risk-modeling software and capabilities such as machine-learning algorithms, self-learning adaptive methods, and simulation-based applications for companies to compete and thrive in the future.
The oil and gas industry is taking significant strides developing a more defined and central role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and capitalising on new forms of production amid a diversified and changing energy landscape.
Globally, investment in the low-carbon energy transition hit a record-setting US$755 billion in 2021, a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to a new report by research firm Bloomberg NEF. Renewable energy in 2021 captured US$366 billion in new investment, a 6.5% increase from the prior year, for new projects and small-scale systems. The energy sector raised the largest amount of capital – US$68.5 billion – a nod to wind, solar power and hydrogen.
The stakes for oil and gas majors steering the ship toward decarbonisation and a cleaner energy transition are high as they consider the most timely, effective capital expenditures.
Many are opening new forms of dialogue and developing strategic business-to-business partnerships while considering how their pipeline asset management and operations objectives align with currently available technologies, emissions targets, and opportunities for a return.
Coming demand for carbon capture and storage (CCS), as well as a new hydrogen rush, appears to be well within reach in midstream oil and gas sectors, with aggressive targets being set by energy producers in Europe and around the globe.
Transporting CO2 in pipelines is similar to transporting other pipeline products; it can be transported as a gas or as a dense, liquid or supercritical fluid. Reuters reported in September 2021 there were 15 direct-air capture plants operating worldwide, capturing and sequestering more than 9000 tpy of CO2 from the atmosphere; and direct carbon capture and sequestering from industrial processes are surging.
In the US, approximately 8047 km (5000 miles) of pipelines transport CO2 , predominantly to oilfields, where it is used for enhanced oilfield recovery (EOR). A recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), indicating the industry’s stake in the potential to preserve the value of existing pipeline assets while reducing CO2 emissions, was cited as one reason domestic pipeline operators are looking into enriched natural gas and CCS pipeline conversion in the US.
Gaseous hydrogen can be transported through pipelines much the way natural gas is today, and nearly all hydrogen pipeline shipment in the US and overseas occurs in dedicated hydrogen (or syngas) infrastructure. As of December 2020, there were 2588 km (1608 miles) of active hydrogen pipelines in the US, according to the CRS report. By comparison, there are over 482 803 km (300 000 miles) of US natural gas transmission pipelines, excluding distribution mains, located in the 48 contiguous states and Alaska …
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