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IEAGHG-OPEC Workshop on CCS as CDM

Unique workshop on how to develop CCS projects for the Clean Development Mechanism under the new rules and procedures.

OPEC is the organisation for oil producing and exporting countries and as such its members present significant opportunities for CCS projects based on fossil fuel production and use, projects which can be eligible for earning carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).  Since the milestone agreement in UNFCCC COP-17 in Durban in 2011, CCS has been an eligible technology for the CDM, with a set of additional rules and requirements specifically for CCS.

IEAGHG and OPEC organized a workshop on the topic of CCS and CDM, hosted by OPEC secretariat in Vienna, on 29-30 October 2013. This workshop is the latest in a series of activities by IEAGHG in supporting CCS in the CDM. Participants in this workshop were from the OPEC member countries of Algeria, Iran, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuala and from the OPEC Secretariat.

The objectives of the workshop were to introduce government and industrial participants from OPEC member countries to CCS, and how to develop CDM projects which use CCS. The first day provided the background and status of CCS and CCS case studies, as well as the most relevant technologies for CCS CDM application. The second day provided information, explanations and experience on the CDM aspects, including the CDM requirements in general, those specific for CCS, guidance on preparing CDM applications, and case studies.

The workshop was opened and welcomed by Dr Abdul-Hamid, Director of Research at OPEC. Technical presentations were given by IEAGHG and by members of IEAGHG’s Research Networks on applications of CCS to power and industrial sectors, geological storage principles, site selection, characterisation and modelling, risk and safety assessments, monitoring and environmental impacts, regulatory frameworks, costs and economics, and case studies of projects.

The CDM was described and an update on its status provided by Paul Zakkour of Carbon Counts. The CDM currently has stimulated over 7000 low-carbon projects in developing countries, representing over 2,000 Mt of CO2 reductions. The origins, the rules and governance, underpinning-principles, procedures and future outlooks were described. The CCS-specific requirements in the CCS CDM ‘Modalities and Procedures’ were presented and discussed. Recent developments include the development of the CDM application procedures to accommodate CCS projects. For the first time ever, the new CCS CDM Baseline and Monitoring Methodology template and the CCS CDM Project Design Document template were presented and discussed.

Also for the first time and unique to this workshop was the group work. The attendees worked in groups to discuss key topics around boundaries, project emissions, baselines, additionality, regulatory issues, and monitoring, all applied to a hypothetical case study constructed especially for this workshop.  The participants from OPEC countries brought an interesting range of their own expertise and perspectives, from technical research managers in petroleum engineering to senior climate change negotiators in the UNFCCC. Based on the information provided in the workshop and from their own perspectives, the participants identified the key issues, and answers and approaches to these, for a CCS CDM project application.  

Whilst the level of new project applications to the CDM is low at the moment, CCS being included in the CDM was an important precedent for this low-carbon technology, showing how it can be included in any mechanisms and funding schemes created under future climate change agreements.

The participants appreciated and enjoyed the workshop as a learning exercise. Many thanks go to Paul Zakkour of Carbon Counts, the hosts OPEC, and to the technical experts from CCSA, The University of Texas, Shell, PTRC, and from IEAGHG. >

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