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Total Launches First Integrated CO2 Capture and Storage Project in a Depleted Gas Field

Total’s oxyfuel combustion CCS pilot project. Click to enlarge.

Total has launched a pilot CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS) project in the Lacq basin in southwestern France.

The project entails converting one of the five steam boilers of the Lacq field’s steam generating plant to an oxyfuel combustion unit, then capturing, pressurizing, transporting 30 km via pipeline and injecting the CO2 emissions into the depleted gas reservoirs of the Lacq area 4,500 meters under ground.

The pilot plant, which will produce some 40 tonnes of steam per hour for use by the industries of the Lacq complex, will emit up to 150,000 tonnes of CO2 over a two-year period, which will be captured and stored. The injection start up is planned for 2008, after two years of studies and preparation.

The pilot unit will be the first oxyfuel combustion project of its scale treating gaseous and liquid fuel and the first experiment in the realm of CO2 storage in France. Using oxygen for combustion rather than air results in a more concentrated CO2 stream that is easier to capture.

Following preliminary studies in 2006, the Rousse field was selected for its geological structure, which gave the best guarantee of sustainable storage. Total has just launched the engineering study phase.

This project will demonstrate the role that CO2 capture and sequestration can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industrial installations. It represents the first integrated CO2 capture system using oxyfuel combustion combined with storage in a depleted hydrocarbon field.

—Christophe de Margerie, President Exploration & Production of Total

The project, which will cost nearly €60 million (US$78 million) will be carried out in partnership with Air Liquide and in cooperation with the French Petroleum Institute (IFP), the French Bureau of Geological and Mining Research (BRGM) and others.

Over the past ten years, Total has participated in several CO2 sequestration projects, notably in saline aquifers at North Sea oil production sites.

Total notes that the oxyfuel combustion and CCS process could be brought into play, in particular, in the context of “hot” production of the extra-heavy Athabasca oils in Canada.



That's great 75,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Now we need to capture and bury another 22 billion tonnes.

Harvey D.

Aussie: This is real good news. Only another 293332 projects like this one are required + another few thousands per year to take care of the annual CO2 emission increase. At the current CO2 emission rate, how long would it take to fill all empty wells?


guys, it's just a pilot project. Regular wells do have a limited capacity, but why not use it. Deep saline have a much larger capacity. Alberta does have a lot of depleted wells right near the oil sands. There's an operation that could use more than a little cleanup.


I wonder what CCS would cost to achieve carbon neutral motoring.
Pilot project cost $78m. Finance costs:
Say 80% Loan @8% $4.992m
+ 20% Equity @ 20% $3.12m = $8.112m pa. 75000 Tons CO2 pa => CCS costs $108 per ton.
France has EU 130g/km CO2 target.
20000 ave km pa @ 0.13kg/km => 2.6 Tons pa.

75000 tons/2.6Tons pa => 28846 cars
$8.112m pa/28846 cars pa = $281 per car pa.

If the arithmetic is ok, this suggests CCS could provise carbon neutral driving at < $300 pa per car.
130g/km implies about 5l/100 km or 28.1 cents per litre and about 2.8 cents per kwh.
Deep saline CCS would presumably cost more but would provide large capacity.
How does a premium of $300 pa compare to other options for carbon neutral driving?
On the other hand, adding 2.8 cents per kwh to electricity costs would make gas fired electricity with CCS rather expensive.
How much are people prepared to pay to reduce the risk of global climate change?

Rafael Seidl

Polly -

parsing your numbers, it looks like you are calling the transportation sector carbon neutral if the CO2 it emits is offset by CO2 *not* emitted by the electricity generators. The former would have to compensate the latter for the trouble. I'm not sure if your figure of $300 per vehicle and year is correct, but the European auto industry has long argued that there are still many more cost-effective ways to reduce total carbon emissions than improving the fuel economy of cars.

This is an interesting concept, in that it sharply reduces overall carbon emissions. However, calling it carbon neutral motoring is a little misleading. It would really be carbon neutral electricity generation.

The distinction is important because CO2 emissions are not the only issue. Having a strategic sector of your economy depend so heavily on oil from OPEC and Russia is also a major problem, perhaps even more serious than climate change.

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