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OPEC Urges Use Of Technology To Reduce Carbon Emissions

If used at a large-scale level, the CCS technology could reduce half the carbon dioxide emissions, Qabazard said. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Riyadh (AFP) Sep 21, 2006
OPEC called Thursday for the use of advanced technology that reduces carbon dioxide emissions to ensure a cleaner environment and the safe use of oil and natural gas to foster global development. "There is a need to focus on technological options that allow the continued use of oil in a carbon-constrained world," OPEC director of research Hasan Qabazard told an EU-OPEC roundtable meeting in Riyadh.

The one-day meeting, a part of the three-day conference on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), is to review the possibility of applying a new technology called Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS).

The technology is based on removing harmful gases from major industrial activities, mainly power generation, and then storing it or injecting it into mature oilfields to boost reserves.

CCS technology is not yet used on an industrial scale but three pilot projects are already operating in Algeria, Canada and the North Sea off the Norwegian coast.

The technology has the "dual benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere while enhancing oil recovery," said Majed al-Moneef, Saudi governor to OPEC.

According to initial reports, the technology boosts reserves of mature oilfields by between 10 percent and 15 percent, while it cuts the emission of carbon dioxide from industrial activities by half.

The oil-producing cartel is worried that the adoption of higher standards for cleaner environment by industrialized nations under the Kyoto Protocol could lead to a reduction in oil and gas consumption and consequently exports.

Most of OPEC's 11 members depend heavily on oil as the main source of income.

European Commission energy advisor Derek Taylor said there will be a major push towards greater use of carbon emission-free energy sources in EU member states.

"However, while this could result in a slight reduction of the share of fossil fuels in percentage terms over the next 20 years, the absolute amounts used will certainly continue to increase," Taylor said.

Energy-related activities are estimated to emit some 13.5 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide every year into the atmosphere, with 10.5 mega tonnes coming from power generation plants using coal, oil and gas.

If used at a large-scale level, the CCS technology could reduce half the carbon dioxide emissions, Qabazard said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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