7.2 CO2 transportation - status and new developments

CO2 pipelines and ships form an essential element in the deployment of CCS technologies. The total transportation distance covered (or to be covered) by the 75 LSIPS currently under development and in operation is around 9000 km. More than 70 per cent of these projects are looking to use onshore pipelines, in particular in the US and Canada (Figure 56). This planned infrastructure development is approximately 1.5 times the size of the existing network of dedicated CO2 EOR pipelines presently available in the US.

Offshore pipelines are mainly considered by projects in Europe, in particular in the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK. In these countries projects are looking to transport their CO2 via pipeline or ship to various offshore storage locations in the North Sea. The only offshore pipeline for CO2 currently in use is part of the Snøhvit project (Norway), which has been operational since 2008 and covers some 153 km linking Hammerfest to the Snøhvit field under the Barents Sea. Further CO2 transportation by pipeline in Europe occurs in the Netherlands, with approximately 85 km of pipeline supplying 300 kt per annum of gaseous CO2 to greenhouses, as well as other pipelines in Hungary, Croatia, and Turkey for EOR (Buit et al. 2011).

FIGURE 56 Pipeline transportation distances provided by LSIPs

As mentioned above, there is significant experience with CO2 pipeline development and operation in North America. There are 36 CO2 pipelines currently operating in the US alone, transporting 48–58 Mtpa of CO2 in 2010 (DiPietro and Balash 2012). These onshore pipelines around 6500 km in length and deliver mainly naturally sourced CO2 for EOR purposes, as opposed to captured anthropogenic CO2Six of these pipelines cross provincial/state boundaries and one crosses an international border into Canada (Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission 2010).


In the US much of the existing pipeline infrastructure was built in the 1980s and 90s, however, there has been significant new investment over the past five years. This includes the 514 km Green pipeline completed in 2010 and the 373 km Greencore pipeline expected to be complete by the end of 2012. Proposals for new pipelines also exist to link the St John’s CO2 dome on the border of New Mexico and Arizona to West Texas and to extend the Greencore pipeline further South to access additional CO2 supplies and North into Montana to provide CO2 for further CO2 EOR projects. A map of the existing EOR pipeline network can be found in Chapter 9 on CO2 EOR, and a complete list of the major US CO2 pipelines is provided in Appendix H.

Table 14 shows a number of LSIPs that could be considered as extensions or components of existing CO2 EOR pipeline networks in the US; they are driven mainly by opportunities to increase oil production based on access to new sources of CO2. This is in contrast to most of the proposals in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia for new CCS networks that are based mainly on direct storage or at least a combination of both permanent storage and CO2 utilisation. Furthermore, the business model and considerations for tapping into existing CO2 infrastructure are significantly different from the requirements for establishing a new CO2 network.

Despite these differences between existing EOR networks in North America and new CCS network developments in other parts of the world, the primarily opportunistic growth of CO2 EOR pipeline infrastructure may provide some lessons for new common user CCS infrastructure development. Bradley (2011) found that the construction of large pipelines in the early 1980s, running hundreds of kilometres to connect natural CO2 sources in Colorado and New Mexico to the Permian basin, supported a rapid expansion in many individual CO2 EOR projects. In similar fashion, the construction of ‘trunk lines’, with a large capacity, connecting one or two LSIPs with a proven storage formation could enable other (smaller) capture projects to come online more easily. This would occur because costs of CO2 transportation for smaller projects with separate individual pipelines to storage sites are high. There are substantial economies of scale in larger pipelines.

TABLE 14 LSIPs as part of existing EOR networks in the US

Indiana Gasification Planned pipeline to connect to Delta Line - Denbury IN to LA or MS X
Lake Charles Gasification Green Line 441 Denbury LA, TX
Air Products Green Line 411 Denbury LA, TX
Enid Fertilizer Enid–Purdy 188 Merit OK
Val Verde Gas Plants Val Verde 134 Sandridge TX
Texas Clean Energy Central Basin 230 Kinder Morgan TX
Century Plant Bravo 351 Oxy Permian NM, TX
Mississippi Gasification Free State 138 Denbury MS
Lost Cabin Gas Plant Greencore 373 Denbury MT, WY
Shute Creek Shute Creek - Exxon, ChevronTexaco, Andarko WY
Kemper County Sonat 80 Denbury MS
Riley Ridge Gas Plant Greencore planned extension - Denbury WY
Medicine Bow Greencore planned extension - Denbury WY

CO2 hubs, clusters, and transportation networks

The initial demand for additional CO2 transportation capacity will likely unfold in an incremental and geographically dispersed manner as new dedicated capture plants, storage and EOR facilities are brought online Large-scale deployment of CCS is likely to result in the linking of proximate CO2 sources, through a hub, to clusters of sinks, either by ship or so-called ‘back bone’ pipelines. For example, the 240 km Alberta Carbon Trunkline in Canada is designed to accommodate about 14 Mtpa of CO2 (in a dense phase) for EOR purposes. The initial CO2 will be captured from the existing Agrium fertiliser plant and a new oil sands upgrader operated by Northwest. Other sources for this pipeline could develop from the Alberta Heartland, which is host to petrochemical and refining industries.

While hubs, clusters, and networks are terms used somewhat interchangeably, in examining their use in describing projects some subtle differences become apparent:

  • A CO2 cluster may refer to a grouping of individual CO2 sources, or to storage sites such as multiple fields within a region. The Permian Basin in the US has several clusters of oilfields undergoing CO2 EOR fed by a network of pipelines
  • A CO2 hub collects CO2 from various emitters and redistributes it to single or multiple storage locations. For example, the South West CO2 Geosequestration Hub project in Western Australia seeks to collect CO2 from various sources in the Kwinana and Collie industrial areas for storage in the Lesueur formation in the Southern Perth Basin (Figure 57)
  • A CO2 network is an expandable collection and transportation infrastructure providing access for multiple emitters. For instance, the CO2Europipe project has developed a roadmap towards a Europe-wide infrastructure network for the transport and storage of CO2 (Neele et al. 2011).

FIGURE 57 Schematic overview of the South West Hub in Western Australia

Source: Government of Western Australia (2011).

The incentives for CCS projects to be developed as part of a hub, cluster, or network include economies of scale (lower per unit costs for constructing and operating CO2 pipelines); these costs are lower than can be achieved with stand-alone projects where each CO2 point source has its own independent and smaller scale transportation or storage requirement. A coordinated network approach can also lower the barriers of entry for all participating CCS projects, including for emitters, that don’t have to develop their own separate transportation and storage solutions.

Benefits and opportunities of integrated network projects are not linked only to economies of scale or technical performance of the transportation network. Network projects can also minimise and streamline efforts in relation to planning and regulatory approvals, negotiations with landowners, and public consultations. For example, a progress report from the South West Hub in Western Australia cites the long lead times associated with obtaining a range of licenses, permits, and approvals for land access rights associated with constructing and operating CO2 pipelines and highlights the importance of a coordinated approach (Government of Western Australia 2011). Figure 57 displays a schematic overview of the planned pipeline route.


For new CO2 network initiatives, an important distinction should be made between ‘overarching’ initiatives (a network that might emerge over time from integrating multiple CCS projects) and ‘anchor’ LSIPs (which might be the first phase of some of these broader and longer-term network initiatives). For example, the South Yorkshire and Humber CCS Cluster in the UK is designed around capture of CO2 from the fossil fuel fired power plants and other industrial sources in the region with geologic storage in reservoirs of the southern North Sea. The long-term aim of the cluster is to capture around 40–60 Mtpa of the CO2, representing approximately 10 per cent of the UK’s annual CO2 emissions. There is also a parallel focus in the region for advancing three anchor LSIPs within this network that when combined will capture up to 10 Mtpa CO2 by 2020 from the proposed White Rose oxyfuel project, 2Co’s Don Valley IGCC Project, and CGen’s North Killingholme project Table 15 provides an overview of such anchor LSIPs and their relation to the proposed integrated networks in various parts of the world. Storage options for the Humber Cluster, while preliminary, are being evaluated by National Grid Carbon and include saline reservoirs and oil and gas reservoirs. In parallel, 2Co are working with Talisman Energy on CO2 EOR and CO2 storage in the North Sea.

TABLE 15 CO2 network initiatives related to CCS

Rotterdam CO2 Hub (The Netherlands) The Rotterdam CO2 Hub aims to capture and store 5 Mtpa of CO2 from anchor projects like ROAD, as well as the Green Hydrogen and Pegasus projects by 2015, expanding to 20 Mtpa in 2020–25 and providing the basis for low-carbon industrial and economic growth in Rotterdam.
Humber Cluster (United Kingdom) The Humber and Yorkshire region has the long-term potential to capture and store upwards of 40 Mtpa CO2 from numerous sources. Anchor projects include the White Rose Oxy-fuel project, the Don Valley Power Project, and CGen’s North Killingholme project.
Teesside Cluster (United Kingdom) The cluster in the Teesside region would capture and store up to 15 Mtpa CO2 from the Teesside Low Carbon project (formerly Eston Grange), an aluminium smelter, and emissions from other surrounding industries.
Scottish CCS Cluster (United Kingdom) The Caledonia Clean Energy Project could accelerate the development of a Scottish CCS Cluster. The CO2 captured in the Firth of Forth area will be transported by pipeline to the St Fergus terminal in close proximity to SSE’s Peterhead project, where CO2Deep. Store will store it in depleted reservoirs under the North Sea.
Southwest Hub (Australia) The South West CO2 Geosequestration Hub project in Western Australia seeks to collect up to 5–6 Mtpa of CO2 by 2018–22 from industrial processes, including the Perdaman Collie Urea project, as well as from alumina production and power facilities for storage in the Lesueur formation in the Southern Perth Basin.
CarbonNet Project (Australia) The CarbonNet CCS network aims to integrate multiple CCS projects across the entire CCS value chain within the next 10 years. The network is initially sized to capture and store around 1 Mtpa of CO2 from power stations in the Latrobe Valley by 2018, with the potential to rapidly scale up to support over 20 Mtpa thereafter.
Masdar CCS Project (United Arab Emirates) The Abu Dhabi CCS network (Masdar) aims at capturing existing CO2 emissions from power and industrial sites as well as developing a network of CO2 pipelines to transport the CO2 to Abu Dhabi’s oil reservoirs for EOR. Anchor projects include: Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) CCS Project, Emirates Aluminium CCS Project, and Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi (HPAD).
Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (Canada) The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line will be a 240 km pipeline constructed by Enhance Energy to initially collect captured CO2 from the Agrium Fertilizer plant and Northwest Heavy Oil Upgrader for distribution for EOR or storage in geologic reservoirs.

As shown in Table 15, the key anchor project in the port of Rotterdam is the ROAD project. Located within the Maasvlakte section of Rotterdam’s port and industrial area, ROAD could be one of the first LSIPs to reach execution in Europe and therefore act as a stepping-stone for the realisation of the Rotterdam CO2 cluster envisaged by the Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI). The port of Rotterdam hosts the largest coal terminal in Europe, extensive storage facilities for liquified natural gas (LNG), and five major refineries. To maintain this dominant position in the longer run and to attract new investments it is believed that a CCS infrastructure is needed.

RCI, which is to be fully developed by 2035, represents the concept of a regional ‘aggregation hub’ for CO2 transported to Rotterdam, including by pipeline from the port of Antwerp and by ship from the Ruhr Area in Germany down the Rhine River (Figure 58). Other clusters in Europe are under consideration, albeit at very preliminary stages, but include areas around the East Irish Sea, the Thames in the UK, the French port of Le Havre, and the Baltic Sea region. In support of the latter CCS cluster, the Norwegian Institute for Strategic Analysis (INSA 2012) published a Pre-study on transportation and storage solutions for CO2 in the Baltic Sea region, covering a range of CCS issues of direct relevance to the different countries in the region.

Given the economies of scale that can be achieved, the benefits of integrated CO2 transportation networks are apparent, but a network approach can also entail additional challenges, in particular from commercial, financial, and legal perspectives, including:

  • design of a multi-user charging framework that reflects the separate infrastructure development, operation, and decommissioning costs and is linked to the allocation of capacity in the system;
  • development of innovative commercial structures for CO2 networks and hubs to accommodate numerous partners/owners and their different priorities for access to the network;
  • obtain financing for assets that will initially be ‘oversized’ in anticipation of future volumes of CO2 being added to the transportation infrastructure; and
  • metering or monitoring different sources of CO2 which feed into a common network. Each source could fluctuate, so sources need to be individually tracked and emitters need to receive specific benefits for each tonne of CO2 supplied.

FIGURE 58 Plausible flows of CO2 within and between North Sea basin countries in 2030

Source: ElementEnergy (2010b).