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Eni and Enel Partner on CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage

Italy-based energy groups Eni and Enel have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to develop technologies for the capture, transport and geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and for the joint construction of Italy’s first project in this area.

The initial integrated pilot project will test the entire process, from CO2 capture and its injection underground up to the monitoring and checks of the stability and safety of the deposit. At the same time of the signature of the agreement, Eni, Enel and the Environment Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at the verification and diffusion of CO2 capture techniques and at the promotion of renewable sources.

The pilot project results from the integration of two projects launched independently by both companies. Enel is completing Italy’s first industrial CO2 capture plant, capable of removing 2.5 tonnes of gas per hour, at the Brindisi thermal power station. The pilot plant will be ready in the autumn of 2009. On the other hand, Eni started to implement a project which is aimed at injecting about 8,000 tonnes of CO2 per year at the Stogit exhausted field at Cortemaggiore (Piacenza).

The integration of the two projects entails the creation, in Brindisi, of a system for the capture and liquefaction of CO2 and for its transport to the Cortemaggiore site. The underground injection is set to start in the autumn of 2010. In order to gain experience in the pipeline transport of CO2 as well, Enel and Eni have also decided to lay a pilot dense-phase CO2 transport line at the Brindisi site.

The integrated project will also allow to develop skills over the whole CO2 capture, transport and sequestration process chain, to be applied subsequently to large-scale demo projects, the implementation of which is strongly encouraged by the European Commission. In order to achieve this goal, the agreement also foresees that Enel and Eni will undertake a detailed feasibility study for the construction of a large-scale integrated demo plant for an Enel reduced emissions power station to be proposed as a candidate for the demonstrative European program.

Enel and Eni will also prepare a joint study of the Italian CO2 storage potential. During the implementation of these activities, Enel and Eni will also rely on the cooperation initiatives already in place with the main Italian research bodies and institutes which are already active in the field.

The International Energy Agency, in a new report, has found that current spending and activity levels to advance carbon dioxide capture and storage are “nowhere near enough to achieve the G8 goals”, and calls for up to $20-billion in near-term demonstrations, in addition to plant base costs. (Earlier post.)

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