Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oil companies and power plants

As a writer for the Oil & Gas Journal, I find myself starting to report more about power plants because oil companies are getting involved in sequestration projects

Shell Oil Co. is contributing $1 million to help finance a planned carbon dioxide underground storage pilot program. The donation is being made to a field test project that will be managed by the West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB), a group of 70 organizations led by the California Energy Commission.

Clean Energy Systems Inc. of Rancho Cordova, Calif., will supply CO2 to test and monitor the long-term effectiveness of sequestration.

Clean Energy Systems has a 5-MW power plant on the Kern County, Calif., site and plans to build a 50-MW plant. The project will inject CO2 into porous rock 7,000 ft underground over 4 years, beginning in 2011.

WESTCARB is one of the US Department of Energy’s seven partnerships, involving 41 US states and four Canadian provinces. The partnerships are in Phase Three, which focuses on large-scale storage tests involving 1 million tonnes/year or more.

“We live in a world that demands more energy, but less carbon dioxide,” said Edward Hymes, Shell project manager, who added that Shell is looking to “to strike this critical balance.”

Earlier this year, the International Energy Agency concluded the partnerships are unique in that no other country or region has initiated such an ambitious carbon capture and storage effort as the DOE’s sequestration partnerships.

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