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CO2 is preferably transported by pipeline, with ships being used when a source of CO2 is too far from a suitable storage site and greater flexibility is required.
For over 30 years, the oil and gas industry has been transporting and re-injecting CO2 into oil fields all over the world to maintain or increase production. Because of this activity, there are already about 5,000 kilometres of underground pipelines in North America transporting CO2 from natural reservoirs to oil fields. The largest network supplies Permian Basin operators in Texas and New Mexico, which have been injecting CO2 for 35 years. Shorter piping runs are used in other locations by beverage and chemical manufacturing facilities.
Establish a long-term CO2 transport plan for CCS in Europe
In order to ensure that the EU CCS demonstration programme leads to rapid deployment post-2020, a business model for CO2 transport and storage must be established that includes the demonstration projects within a long-term infrastructure plan for Europe.
Indeed, with only a small number of demonstration projects spread over various Member States – and great pressure on cost containment – there is a risk that projects will result in isolated, point-to-point solutions, without scope to grow. The EU’s policy of developing networks in order to achieve energy and climate objectives should therefore be extended explicitly to include the development of new CO2 pipeline infrastructure, as well as existing gas and electricity transportation networks.
The manner in which CO2 pipeline infrastructure projects are developed in the near-term will have a significant impact on how (or whether) the European CCS infrastructure develops in the medium- to long-term. Clearly, there is a need for new and early CO2 pipeline infrastructure and its complexity and lead-time should not be underestimated.
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy is planning to publish a first study on European CO2 infrastructure in Autumn 2010. The Commission will then issue an Energy Infrastructure Package in November 2010, mapping out what is required to develop Europe's energy networks by 2020. An efficient CO2 infrastructure is crucial to reducing the costs of CCS, given the potential for clusters which will facilitate the transition to early market deployment. It is therefore vital that the Energy Infrastructure Package also maps out clearly what is needed to support its development.
The Costs of CO2 Transport - Post- demonstration CCS in the EU