Breaking Green

The Carbon Capture Rabbit Hole and the IEEFA Report with Analyst Bruce Robertson

September 15, 2022 Season 2 Episode 8
Breaking Green
The Carbon Capture Rabbit Hole and the IEEFA Report with Analyst Bruce Robertson
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Carbon capture and storage is often thought of as a new technology to help fight climate change. But it has been around for fifty years and was first developed by gas companies and used to enhance oil recovery from depleted fields.  Today, tax credits are being offered to subsidize the technology as a response to global warming. A September 1st story in The Guardian  highlighted a report by the Institute for Energy, Economics and Financial Analysis on Carbon Capture technology. 

The report details how carbon capture and storage schemes, which are key in many governments' plans to address climate change, are not a true solution to the climate crises and may even increase carbon emissions in the long run.

 In this episode of Breaking Green, we will talk with Bruce Robertson, one of the authors of the report.

 Bruce Robertson is an energy finance analyst of the GAS/LNG sector for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. He has been an investment analyst, fund manager and professional investor for over 36 years. He has worked with Perpetual Trustees, UBS, Nippon Life Insurance and BT. He has appeared as an expert witness before a number of government enquiries into energy issues.

This podcast is produced by Global Justice Ecology Project.

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September 1st, 2022 article in The Guardian.

IEEFA report



Steve Taylor  0:00  
Welcome to breaking green, a podcast by global justice ecology project. On breaking green, we will talk with activists and experts to examine the intertwined issues of social, ecological and economic injustice. And we'll also explore some of the more outrageous proposals to address climate and environmental crises that are falsely being sold as green. I am your host, Steve Taylor. Carbon Capture is often thought of as a new technology to help fight climate change. But it has been around for 50 years and was first developed by gas companies and was used to enhance recovery from depleted oil fields. Today, tax credits are being used to subsidize the technology as a response to global warming.  Yet a September 1st story in The Guardian highlighted a report by the Institute for Energy Economics, and Financial Analysis on carbon capture technology. The report details how carbon capture storage schemes, which are key in many government's plans for addressing climate change, are not a true solution to the climate crisis, and may even increase carbon emissions in the long run. In this episode of Breaking Green, we will talk with Bruce Robertson, one of the authors of the report. Bruce Robertson is an energy finance analyst of the Gas/LNG sector for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. He has worked with perpetual trustees, UBS, Nippon Life I nsurance, and BT. He has appeared as an expert witness before a number of government inquiries into energy issues. Bruce Robertson, welcome to Breaking Green. 

Bruce Robertson  1:41  
Great to be here. 

Steve Taylor  1:42  
Bruce, a September 1 article in The Guardian focused on report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis that lays out the case that carbon capture is not a solution to net zero emissions. You are one of the two authors of that report, which is titled The Carbon Capture Crux; Lessons Learned. Before we get into details about the report, could you tell us a bit about the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, and what you do for that organization?

Bruce Robertson  2:15  
Yeah, well, um, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis is a not for profit organization that's looking at the energy transition. And basically, what we found, you know, what, what anyone finds that looks at this sort of stuff is, is that there are a lot of institutional barriers to change.

Steve Taylor  2:33  
The report was, I would say, surprising for those who follow climate news. There's a lot of people out there who thought that this was a rather new technology, where you're just pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it and a lot of emphasis has been placed on that technology. But it's been around as report says, for about 50 years. Could Could you tell us about how carbon capture technology was first developed and and what it was developed for?

Bruce Robertson  3:10  
Yeah, my certainly I'm looking carbon capture technology was first developed as an oil production method. And I think it's really important to look at the history of how this industry is developed. It was developed as a as a method of producing more oil out of depleted oil fields. When you produce natural gas, you have to split off the co2 because natural gas cannot contain too much co2. So you split the methane, which is the gas that we all use to produce power in our homes away from the co2 and the co2 simply used to just be vented into the atmosphere, and it still is mostly just vented into the atmosphere. But in some, but what the oil and gas industry saw as a business opportunity to use this co2 to produce more oil and gas and today, still 73% of all carbon capture and storage projects are for enhanced oil recovery. So the majority of of carbon capture and storage projects are used to produce more oil. Now, what happened over time was in the 70s, climate change in the 80s even climate change really wasn't that big of an issue. So the oil and gas industry just went about doing what they did their enhanced oil recovery, but then they spotted an opportunity to rebrand what was essentially an oil production technique, oil and gas production technique to rebrand that technique as climate friendly solution. So they rebranded it and called it carbon capture and storage.

Steve Taylor  5:00  
in your report, I was reading that historically, this co2 was captured and then I guess the gas companies sold it to individuals or I mean, other corporations that were interested in pumping it into to oil fields, less productive oil fields to enhance enhance the pumping of oil. Is that correct?

Unknown Speaker  5:23  
Yeah, what it does is so so there's a very big, big project. And then one of the well the largest and the longest running, enhanced oil recovery project or carbon capture and storage project, depending on how you want to call it is actually in the US in Wyoming, Shute Creek ExxonMobil, run it. And now, it what it did, and what it still does today is it sells that co2 to other oil and gas producers in the region, pipes it over to them. And they then force it at great pressure down the well. And what it does is it re pressurizes the old oil fields, because oil fields when they get depleted, the pressure drops. So by pumping carbon dioxide into the new repressurize it and you get the last oil and gas out of that reservoir and forces the last oil and gas out of the reservoir. And essentially that's that's how that's how the industry works.

Steve Taylor  6:28  
Well, that's interesting. So in your report, you talk about scope, three emissions, and that being the elephant in the room when it comes to using carbon capture, and you know, what the consequences are for including this type of technology in plans to mitigate greenhouse gases. Could you elaborate on that for us?

Bruce Robertson  6:57  
Yeah, so now look, I'm very simply there are three study permissions. You got one and two, which are basically to produce the gas, you make scope one and two emissions. Scope three emissions are when you burn the gas. Now, in the whole process, what carbon capture and storage is looking to address is the scope one and two emissions. Now they're only a small proportion of the emissions only around 15% of the emissions are when you produce a gas. The lion's share of emissions occur when you burn the gas, the scope three emissions. Now we all know that, you know, when we burn gas in our home, you know to heat our home or or cook or heat the water, we're not going to do carbon capture and storage on that. So So and and in large part when industry does it there is some carbon capture and storage on industry. But it's a very small part of that, you know, the lion's share is still for natural gas processing of carbon capture storage, the lion's share of projects. So in a lot of cases, carbon capture and storage won't occur. Now the classic example, so I think is actually, you know, oil, most of its goes to transportation, you're not going to do carbon capture and storage on transportation. And, and, you know, with with the oil part of the equation, that means that most of the emissions aren't being sequestered. So these companies that are saying ah, you know, it's a green process, it's only addressing 15% of those initiatives. And you can break it down much further than that, because most of the projects aren't successful for a start. Not they're only aiming to capture 90% of that 15% Even when they are successful, and it takes a lot of energy to do it. Around in a Quest in Canada, which was if you look at the numbers, you would term it a successful project in achieved its goals of capturing 90% of the emission, and is today still achieving its goals of capture 90% of emissions. It's one of the rare exceptions. And but if you look at that project 21% of the total emissions, captured, 21% of those emissions are eaten up by the process itself. It's a very energy intensive process, carbon capture and storage. So you know, 21% of the emissions are eaten up just doing that. So you're not even really addressing the 15% of emissions that you're trying to capture with carbon capture and storage. Quite simply, it's a much much lower figure in the net figure you're actually achieving. And this is another thing see. See they utilizing the oil and gas industry is utilizing this, particularly in my home country of Australia as justification for new gas projects. They say, oh, but we're going to put on carbon capture and storage that everything's alright. Well, everything's not alright, if you look at it from a climate point of view, because most of the emissions are still occurring.

Steve Taylor  10:25  
Reading your report, I came under the impression that with some of these projects with EOR, enhanced oil recovery, it almost seems, at least for most of them, which may not be many meeting their mark, or even if they are, that, overall, you're not actually reducing emissions with the plant. I mean, you're not really producing net zero for a given project. Would I be correct in in reading your report that way?

Bruce Robertson  10:54  
Actually, it's a bit worse than that, unfortunately, Steve. Enhanced oil recovery projects increase emissions as as a rule, they actually increase emissions. And they increase emissions for for two very basic reasons, one, and most importantly, is that they are actually meaning we're developing more carbon dioxide rich gas and oil fields than we used to. Right. If we have a look at Shute Creek, for example, it is an incredibly oil intense co2 intensive gas field, it would have never been developed without carbon capture and storage. And the net result of developing Shute Creek, even with carbon capture and storage, even with that in place, has been that we've developed a very high because it was an ultra high yielding co2 and and when you net out the savings, it's still a very high co2 field. So the net result is that carbon dioxide coming off that gas field is higher than most the gas fields in in in the world. You know, globally speaking, So so it's being used as a justification to develop very, very high co2 fields. They could only develop Shute Creek by selling the gas by products, including carbon dioxide. It's the only way they could actually do it is to sell the carbon dioxide. And so and justify the economics. And then what's more, that carbon dioxide is used to produce more oil, which produces more emissions at the end of the day. So so what what enhanced oil recovery historically, and in the projects it's it's looking at being put on today is generating more emissions, not less. And I think and that's the majority of carbon capture and storage projects are enhanced or recovery, we've got to get back to that very basic back 73% of all carbon capture and storage projects are for enhanced oil recovery. So in the main it's a technology that produces more emissions, not less emissions.

Steve Taylor  13:23  
So I want to I want to talk to you a little bit more about that the IEA, the International Energy Agency, are they actually promoting carbon capture? EOR versions are I mean, do they distinguish?

Bruce Robertson  13:40  
Yeah, but they do distinguish and they they are after a massive increase in in in capacity of of carbon capture and storage, not carbon capture usage and storage. Sorry it's so complicated. That enhanced oil recovery is called CCUS, which is carbon capture usage and storage. Carbon Capture and Storage is the same as as enhanced oil recovery, but it doesn't have it just is just storing the carbon dioxide underground. It's not producing more oil and gas, right? It's just storing it permanently underground. That's what they're calling for is a massive increase in carbon capture and storage. But if we have a look, the largest the largest on the globe, the largest carbon capture and storage project is a Gorgon project off off the Northwest shelf of Australia. Now the Gorgon project is a massive gas and LNG project that that has a very large $3.1 billion is spent on this bit of kit, a carbon capture and storage facility on it. Now, the engineers involved in this are the engineers from Exxon, Shell Chevron. You know, these are globally world class, petroleum engineers they're talking about. It's not the B grade. This is the A grade team on this onn this project. They've got virtually they've had virtually unlimited financial resources to make it work. They've had tremendous support from the Australian Government to make this work. And the West Australian government where it's located, massive support from the local governments there. And they can't get it to work. And this really is the key point, when a project like Gorgon doesn't work properly, it's only capturing 50% of the emissions that that it's meant to capture. And even then, it's been intermittent. You know, it's had a number of shutdowns, since it's since it's it started up a number of engineering problems. What that points due to me is a tremendously problematic technology. It shows that this is not an easy technology. And we've, as you pointed out very clearly, at the beginning of this podcast, it's an old technology. It's been going since the 1970s. And this is the point, the point is that we haven't seen what you see, in most industries. Most industries, you need big government support at the beginning. And then the government support falls away, as the industry stands on its own two feet and starts, you know, scales up and starts being economic, Carbon and capture and storage hasn't worked like that. What we've seen as the industry scale up, it's, it's, it's failed in a number of cases to actually operate properly, and capture what it's meant to. And, and it still needs large chunks of government money or tax breaks, or some form of government support. It still needs that to exist. And this is a key point really is is that we haven't seen the typical maturation phase you normally get in an industry. And I think, without really, you know, without really exploring that, you know, it without really understanding that you don't really understand. You've got to understand the history of carbon capture and storage. Otherwise, a lot of what I'm saying doesn't really make sense. You know, it doesn't really make sense unless you go back and look at what happened in the past, and what's happening now.

Steve Taylor  17:39  
This is your host, Steve Taylor, and we will be back right after this.

Theresa Church  17:46  
Global Justice ecology project partners with small nonprofits, when a group or organization whose nonprofit work closely aligns with our mission by becoming a fiscal sponsor. This helps them minimize bureaucracy, so they can focus on their crucial work for ecological and social justice, forest protection and human rights. GJEP is a co founder and coordinator for the campaign to stop GE trees, both in North America and globally. The campaign to stop GE trees is a national and international alliance of organizations United towards prohibiting the ecologically and socially devastating release of genetically engineered trees into the environment. Their mission is to protect forests and biodiversity, and provide support to communities threatened by the dangerous release of genetically engineered trees. For more information and to sign the petition to stop genetic engineering and our forests, visit stop ge

Steve Taylor  18:46  
Welcome back to Breaking Green. Could you tell us a little bit about the scope of your research? When it comes to how many plants you you you studied? What that represented regarding the history of carbon capture? And then what you found how many projects succeeded and how many projects failed?

Bruce Robertson  19:07  
Yeah, yeah, we picked out 13 what we considered were pretty flagship projects globally. And they account for 55% of all the emissions that have been captured in history that includes the ones that have failed. Look, we did pick a couple of failure, like total failures just to show that it did actually occur. Because it's quite hard to you know, they're not around anymore. But we also picked three, we did study 13 projects altogether. What it found was that basically, seven were underperforming. One a totally failed two had been shut early, and three, in the main you would say we're successful. You know, we're very successful. The three that were successful Well, strangely enough two come from Norway. And and one, as I mentioned earlier was the Quest project in Canada. Shell's Quest project and and to to from from Equinor in Norway. Look, I think what what we really found was that carbon capture and storage is not a technology, you can take a successful project from point A, and put it on another location, and it might not work. And that's really the key point. Because the geology that you're putting that carbon into this the rock or the sand or whatever the the structure you're putting that into, is totally different. And, and this is this is really, the key problem is is that, you know, you can't it's not a it's not a transferable technology. And I think that that's the main problem with it from what we saw, is that you can't just say, all right, because Equinor have had two successful projects in Norway, can we take those equinor engineers, bring them over the US, for example, and get them to build a plant and everything will be alright? The answer is no. The answer is no. I can tell you now, it's not necessarily true. They may be successful, and they may not be successful. And, you know, it was the Equinor engineers, for example, that went down to Algeria and did the Insular project that they ended up having to shut up because the carbon dioxide was moving in ways underground, that they didn't expect, right? That said it was it was just moving in ways that they didn't expect. And they went, Oh, we're out of here. We're going to shut this down. It's not not working. So it Yeah, that transferability is the key, you can't transfer this technology.

Steve Taylor  21:56  
And a lot of that has to do with the geology of different places, correct? 

Bruce Robertson  22:00  
Yeah, the geology and, and, and the material and that you're putting it into. Like, for example, in in, in Gogan, one of the big problems they've had is sand, clogging up some of the monitoring equipment that's vital for the process, right, like it's clogging up the monitoring equipment. And that's that's that, that that's a thing that's unique to Barrow Island where they're doing that project. It's not something that probably exists in a lot of the other projects that have been done globally.

Steve Taylor  22:30  
It was interesting that you noted that it was a rather unique regulatory and taxing structure in Norway that actually made it financially viable, or at least a success in Norway. 

Bruce Robertson  22:43  

Yeah. What do you have very, very high carbon prices in Norway for a start, you know, there are 100 euros a ton, which is a lot by global standards. So there is an incentive to do something. And then the regulatory environment basically, is also making it very, very possible to do these projects from a regulatory point of view. They're looking at doing a large industrial one now, in the North Sea, the Northern Lights. We didn't cover that the Northern Lights because we didn't we're not covering future projects. This was looking back this was saying, Well, what is the situation today, and what is happening today. We will be covering Northern Lights as as it develops. But there's, what we know is that it exists as a project at the moment to capture industrial gas and send it to somewhere in the North Sea. The other the other problem globally with this technology, generally speaking, and it's a big problem in Asia, which we should really cover because I think it's important when you look at, for example, International Energy Agency's you know, saying that we've got to do a lot more carbon capture and storage in Asia. There in a lot of Asia, like Japan and South Korea, there is not a big indigenous oil and gas industry, and therefore they're out the sights to actually put the captured carbon dioxide. So globally, that's a problem. You know, like, it's not it not every country is like Australia and the US and, and Russia, for example. Not every country produces lots of oil and gas, quite a lot of rely on imports. So you know, there aren't the structures to put in many cases there simply aren't the structures to put the co2 into. Our expectations are unrealistic, globally, is what I'm saying.

Steve Taylor  24:51  
And then in your report, you did mention some disasters, the unintentional venting of stored gases, that there has been a hard time predicting or, you know, what's going to happen when you store these gases in the long term?

Bruce Robertson  25:09  
 Yeah, it is, it is quite hard to predict what will happen, you know, over time the Earth moves, you know, you get earthquakes, you get cracks in rocks, all that sort of stuff occurs over time. And what you can see is you can see, the IPCC in its carbon dioxide caption storage report clearly points to the long term risks. And it says that you can get catastrophic failure of these of these storage areas where we're where basically all the carbon dioxide could be let go. Or you can get slow leakages. And the best example I can point to is actually a prospective project that larger  documents are in Australia, it's a member gasfield in South Australia, you know, and this is pretty typical of a of a guess, you know, of a carbon capture and storage, it will be done in an old oil and gas field, like, like in South Australia is pretty typical. But in that gas field, there are 2100 wells. And they've been drilled since the 1970s. You know, before the time of ubiquitous GPS systems, you know, a lot of times pass in sand, it's 50 years ago. It's out in the desert, you know, the wells, the caps may be covered in dirt now, and you wouldn't know where they are, they're very hard to find, again. You know, these oil wells do fail. And the best example of that of an all wheel failing wasn't actually with carbon dioxide. It was with methane. But both are put underground at high pressure, both the gases. It's a very similar process. At Aliso Canyon was a gas storage facility. It was an old oil and gas well. It is a different gass, its methane I'm talking about here. But it's the same principle. What happened was, was it an old well blew out, it just the plug totally failed in an old well at Aliso Canyon. And they lost the gas, and, you know, cause the evacuation of the suburb that was the largest gas leak in US history. All these things now, that could have equally happened that was a carbon capture and storage facility, you know, that we're using that, that well that obviously sealed pretty well before then because they put valuable natural gas into it. They don't want it to leak out, I can assure you. It wasn't the intention of the oil and gas company. So that gas to leak out, they wanted to sell it, you know, and not watch it go off into the atmosphere. But that's what happened. And look that could very easily happen with with a a, you know, a carbon capture and storage project in an area like South Australia, I said, which has a lot of old oil and gas wells in it, it just starts and most oil fields do they have a lot of old wells in them. And, and you know, they, each one of those presents a pathway for the gas to escape.

Steve Taylor  28:11  
You also noted that these multibillion dollar projects will at first have the liability and the cost of containing gases, but there's going to be a tendency or concern about transferring that liability and cost to taxpayers. 

Bruce Robertson  28:29  
Yeah, generall speaking, that's what happens globally. Yeah, generally speaking, what happens is once the project's finished, there's a monitoring period now that might be 10 or 15 years, in some cases, 20 years. Some cases may be shorter, depending on what the is negotiated with the government. But then after that monitoring period, you know, the company hands back the license and wipes its handle liability, and the liability goes on to the taxpayer. And that's essentially what what happens in most places in the globe. It the oil and gas companies don't have to then monitor it, it's up to the state to monitor with there's co2 leaking out of that, that project or not. And in some cases, it's quite hard to tell. Because, you know, the leaks can be very slow. They don't necessarily have to be you know, that that quite spectacular one that happened at Aliso Canyon that that example, the gas leak. They don't necessarily have to be like that. They can be very slow over hundreds of years. But the net result is still the same. The carbon dioxide can leak to the surface, these projects can have failure postproduction.

Steve Taylor  29:50  
You informed us earlier in this interview that there's a difference between carbon capture sequestration and carbon capture and usage, so I looked into it. And with the Inflation Reduction Act just signed into law recently by President Biden, there are tax credits for carbon capture and usage, which is the enhanced oil recovery. So how typical is that, that this old technology, which you already said will create, in essence more carbon dioxide? I mean, it's really not a solution to climate change. How, how common is it for a project or tax credits like that, to be given to this old oil and gas technology? And it being sold as green?

Bruce Robertson  30:42  
It's, it's pretty, pretty common. Yeah, it is pretty common. You know, I think increasingly, people are realizing that that's not really gonna wash, unfortunately, obviously, in the US, hasn't quite come to that realization yet. But, you know, I think I think most people with a thinking mind who would think that that's really not really not a climate solution. You know, it's a it's a good way to produce more oil and gas. Yeah, but it's not a common solution. Is it? Is it common still is, is the tax system that the US has? Yeah, it's still it's it's there's still incentive for CCUS for enhanced or recovery projects, there aren't globally, there are still a lot of incentives for doing those. But increasingly, I think we are seeing the distinction between the two. And it's going to get harder. If there's one thing that I can assure you, it's going to get harder to do CC us projects and claim tax credits. I mean, that that, that that loophole will have to close, you know,

Steve Taylor  31:58  
but it hasn't in the inflation Reduction Act. It's right there.

Unknown Speaker  32:02  
It's right there in the US. Yeah, that's something for you guys to fix. That's not my problem.

Steve Taylor  32:08  
Well, global warming is a global problem.

Unknown Speaker  32:13  
Yeah, yeah. Look, I just put a personal angle on it, where I live, we've had simply unbelievable bushfires in 2019. That they I live on the farm of the mid north coast. We had fires four kilometers to the south of us, and they basically ringed us. Were in a burning ring of fire, you know. The closest one was four kilometers away, which is about 20 minutes, if the wind changed, literally. And so you know, and then we it's been followed up with three very big floods. I mean, where I live floods, something that's normal. It's not an abnormal event. But normally, you get a big flood every, you know, maybe every sort of six or seven years, you'll get a big one. We've had three big floods since 2019. And the damage that's causing is is is massive. And and it's ongoing. Yeah, we haven't seen the end of it. It looks like we're going to be in for some more some more quite severe weather in the coming years. So I, yeah, look, the climate change thing is particularly real, where we live.

Steve Taylor  33:26  
And in the report, you wrote, you said that the IEA. And I'm paraphrasing, basically stated for their net zero and 2050. Goal. There, there can be no more new projects, you know, for drilling oil and gas. But as as we see in the US and elsewhere, there's tax credits being given for enhanced oil recovery. So that that seems to fly in the face of the International Energy Agency.

Unknown Speaker  34:01  
Yeah, well, there's been I mean, look, look globally around the world we've seen a massive expansion. That there was a report just out only a couple of days ago, the from the UN, there's been a massive expansion in global fossil fuel subsidies at a time when we've got you know, more climate events and and and I think the general the general thing globally is more people are aware of what's causing the the extreme weather events were happening, that are happening that there is more acceptance of the science of climate change globally. And I think that that government's reactions to that haven't been there. Really haven't been there. You know, we are seeing massive in where I live in Australia we're seeing massive new oil and gas projects opening up on really global scale projects. They're not little ones, these are global scale, oil and gas projects, you know, not far from where I live, we had, you know, a massive coal mine approved. Just recently an expansion, massive expansion of a coal mine that sort of a global scale. And, and, you know, the this, these, these things are still, the government's are still very much in the business as usual mode. And probably more so. Probably actually, we're seeing an acceleration of fossil fuel support. With the current energy crisis we're seeing globally, they're not seeing it as an opportunity to, to, to adopt cheaper, more economic, and cleaner sources of energy. And I think that's the key point is, is what we've seen, as we've seen massive increases in gas, not so much in the US, right? I mean, I know you've seen a tripling in the price, but it's still reasonably priced on a global scale gas in, in the US. But elsewhere, gas is not an affordable fuel. And that's for much of the third world that's for much of the first world now, I guess, you know, in Europe, for example, gases is not an affordable fuel. It can't compete with cheaper renewables. And that's occurring globally. Really, that's occurring globally. We're seeing this massive move in the economics, due to the high gas prices, high oil prices, and very high coal prices. People actually, in this whole argument, people have forgotten that coal prices have gone through the roof. So yeah, yeah, it is, it is quite an extraordinary thing that we're experiencing at the moment that the government reactions, you would think that they would say, all right, all those prices have gone up. It's much cheaper to do stuff with with renewables, let's, let's forge it, let's actually push harder on renewables. Now, there is that move in Europe, obviously, for you know, just to be able to produce power indigenously is, you know, within their own countries is very important to them, having been, you know, having come through the experience of having their suppliers cut off from Russia. But, you know, we really, we really do need to see globally, a move towards locally produced power. We need to see that move economically, it makes sense now. And we need to see government's move on that and not not be beholden to their traditional party donors, which is what's happening globally,

Steve Taylor  37:48  
It appears that the oil and gas lobby still has a lot of influence when it comes to crafting response to to to global warming.

Bruce Robertson  37:58  
Yes, the oil and gas industry has a disproportionate a disproportionate say in in how we're going to go about. decarbonizing, considering that we're talking about trying to decrease the oil and gas industry's influence.

Steve Taylor  38:16  
Of all the projects operating now, what percentage of those projects are for enhanced oil recovery?

Unknown Speaker  38:27  
It's 73% for enhanced oil recovery. So the vast majority are for enhanced oil recovery, there's about 26% are industrial. And then there's just a tiny percentage that are for other direct air capture and, and actual, like producing carbon type products.

Steve Taylor  38:51  
The direct air capture just really is not I didn't see much about that at all. I mean, the idea of just running some sort of facility to filter out carbon dioxide. I think was point 01 metric tons had been captured in history that way, which is nothing compared to the power sector. Could you give us some, some scope to that some some perspective to that? I mean, if you have direct air capture technology is point 01 metric tons, how does that compare to let's say, what the what the power industry is putting out?

Unknown Speaker  39:27  
It's about 39 million tons is a whole industry. So like that gives you an idea that that, you know, direct air capture really isn't a thing. You know, like it's a one couple of tiny little demonstration plants globally. Look, the whole process is very energy intensive. And I think that that really has to be recognized. The fundamental feature of any form of carbon capture and storage is its energy intensive. And if we start with that, that very basic fact it gives you an idea that with direct air capture, probably you're better off not putting that stuff up into the air first to capture it again. If it takes that much energy, you know, like, we've got to start going for lower energy alternatives. So maybe not producing the emissions in the first place is kind of like a smarter way to go about things. And that's really what we have to do if we're looking at the global warming problem.

Steve Taylor  40:28  
Is there a way in which we'd like to summarize your work?

Unknown Speaker  40:31  
In summary, I suppose the work was meant to be a look at what is in existence today, how is it performing? And it was really a performance report on the carbon capture and storage industry. And what we found is that it's not performing. And it really is that simple. It's a non performing industry. And if we just take that one clear thought away, it gives you an idea of following this as as as a method of of reducing emissions globally is, is really just chasing a rabbit down a hole, it's not going to work. 

Steve Taylor  41:11  
Well, Mr. Robertson, thank you so much for joining us at breaking green.

Bruce Robertson  41:15  
Thank you very much.

Steve Taylor  41:18  
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Transcribed by

Breaking Green Introduction
Episode Introduction
Bruce Robertson Bio
What is IEEFA
Carbon Capture's Origin
Enhanced Oil Recovery
Scope 3 Emissions
EOR Will Create More CO2
Scope of Report's Research
Norway's Unique Tax and Regulatory Structure
Potential for Accidental and Disasterous Release
Public Vs Private Longterm Liability and Cost
Current Green Credits for Enhanced Oil Recovery
Global Problem
EOR Flies in the Face of IEA
Oil Lobby
Direct Air Capture not Moving the Needle
Summarizing the Research