Options for regulation of CCS projects in Oman – Global CCS Institute’s workshop

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By Keith Burnard

2 May 2024

A workshop to launch and discuss GCCSI’s Phase 1 report: “Options for regulation of CCS pilot, demonstration, and early-stage commercial projects in Oman” was held in Muscat, Oman, on 30 April 2024. The workshop was hosted by Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM).

CCS projects in Oman. Oman flag, blowing in the wind on a sunny day.

In accordance with His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) of the Sultanate of Oman commenced a programme of work in November 2023, with several key stakeholder to establish a legislative and regulatory framework for CCUS projects in Oman. A CCUS Core Team was formed, comprising multiple stakeholders drawn from industry and government. PDO, as a lead for the storage work stream in the CCUS national core team, engaged GCCSI to provide guidance for the development of regulations to bolster CO2 storage projects. This advice and guidance is planned to be delivered in two phases:

  • Phase 1 – Summary of key regulatory considerations for CCS pilot, demonstration, and trailblazer projects
  • Phase 2 – Comprehensive guidance for the development of a CCS framework for projects beyond the pilot phase (to be delivered by July 2024).

A workshop to launch and discuss GCCSI’s Phase 1 report: “Options for regulation of CCS pilot, demonstration, and early-stage commercial projects in Oman” was held in Muscat, Oman, on 30 April 2024. The workshop was hosted by Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM).

GCCSI’s Head of MEA Region, Mohammad Abu Zahra, opened the workshop by introducing two key speakers who welcomed attendees and discussed the background to the report, H.E Mohsen Alhadrami of MEM and Mohammed Shuayli of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). Bernardene Smith, GCCSI’s lead on Policy, Regulation and Commercial then described the findings of the report before calling upon five international experts who had provided peer review input for their responses. These experts were Richard Macrory (UCL), Sally Greenberg (Consultant), Juho Lipponen (CEM CCUS, Tim Dixon (IEAGHG) and Martin Jagger (Consultant).

The Phase 1 study focuses on regulatory elements associated with CO2 capture, transport and storage as observed in pilot, demonstration and trailblazer projects. Building on the analysis for its Phase 0 report, GCCSI considered the high-level issues relevant to the entire lifecycle of CO2 geological storage and incorporated insights and lessons from various jurisdictions worldwide that have implemented CCS regulations over the past decades. With a focus on key regulatory considerations, the report offers a concise overview of important legal and regulatory considerations essential for advancing CCS pilot, demonstration and trailblazer projects. The analysis aimed to inform discussions within the Government of Oman on developing its regulatory framework for such projects.

Various regulatory approaches across selected international CCS projects were identified and compared to existing Omani legislation that could be relevant to the permitting of trailblazer projects. To date, when designing legal and regulatory frameworks, regulators and policymakers were found to adopt one of two approaches – they either enhance existing legislation or they enact stand-alone CCS-specific legislation.

In the experts’ responses, IEAGHG’s Tim Dixon advised for any future CCS regulation in Oman that existing regulations have intended flexibility in their storage monitoring requirements, each storage site and geology is different, so any regulation in Oman needs to be allowed to site specific. In addition, Tim recommended to not set more stringent requirements than existing regulations, as these regulations were developed a decade or more ago when we were more cautious, and we now have more experience and confidence in geological storage.

We welcomed PDO as a member of IEAGHG in 2023, and we look forwards to contributing further in peer reviewing GCCSI’s Phase 2 report.

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