7.4 CO2 transportation - synopsis and outlook

Safely and reliably transporting CO2 from where it is captured to a storage site is an important stage in the CCS process. Transportation of CO2 and other gases is already a reality, occurring daily in many parts of the world. The total transportation distance that would be covered by the 75 LSIPs currently under development and in operation is around 9000 km. More than 80 per cent of these projects are looking to utilise onshore pipelines, in particular in the US and Canada, where a wealth of experience in CO2 transportation already exists.

The growth of a CO2 EOR pipeline infrastructure in North America over the past decades may provide some important lessons for new common user CCS infrastructure development. The construction of so called ‘trunk lines’ connecting one or two LSIPs with a proven storage formation could enable subsequent (smaller) projects to come online more easily. In order to better facilitate the development of this new CO2 transportation infrastructure, there are a few areas that require further attention, including:

  • development of appropriate (international) standards and design codes to further promote safe and efficient operation of CO2 transport infrastructure;
  • development of innovative financial and commercial structures for COnetworks and hubs to:
    • accommodate numerous partners and their priority access within a network;
    • obtain financing for assets that will initially be ‘oversized’ in anticipation of future volumes of CO2 being added to the network;
  • validation of detailed thermodynamic modelling of CO2 streams containing impurities.

Most of the items listed above in relation to the development of CO2 transport infrastructure have been met by other major transport infrastructure programs. Notably, integrated transport networks have been financed and constructed in virtually every country to move fluids, solids, or waste materials safely.