IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

2015-03 CCS Cluster projects


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions reductions. In this regard, development of cluster structures offers the potential for cost reduction through sharing of infrastructure and organisational and regulatory efforts.

The main objectives of this study are to identify gaps, risks and challenges related to CCS clusters, to compare their business models and to reveal factors for successful development and suitable locations for future clusters.

The approach for this work consists of an extensive review of the literature on CCS clusters. The existing information was sufficient to review 12 clusters with different levels of maturity in detail and to discuss a number of others at a more general level.

Based on an analysis of gaps, risks and challenges of clusters (both technical and commercial), the study develops criteria for the selection of future cluster locations and recommendations for increasing the likelihood of successful cluster implementation.

Key messages:

  • The most successful clusters remain those based on the use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) application in the US.

  • Clustering may slightly reduce costs but the savings are insufficient to fill the cost-revenue gap, so clusters will likely require substantial, i.e. 50% or more, government support. There is large value in the (shared) pre-investment in pipelines and storage in order to generate the confidence needed for investment decisions on capture facilities. Further cost savings can arise from sharing organisational costs and from tying specialist services.

  • The main risks for clusters are of commercial nature and include e.g. collapse of the CO2 price, loss of key partners and/or customers, availability of low-cost alternative EOR methods but also major pipeline accident and failure to gain permits.

  • A major obstacle in early years is maintaining a core organisation which is able to carry a CCS cluster project forwards.

  • New methods to attract international investment in CCS capacity are necessary to exploit the full low cost potential of the best cluster locations.

  • Promising future cluster locations include e.g. Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, former Soviet Union states and China.

  • Workshops could help exploring more systematic development of business plans for CCS clusters with emphasis on customers and revenues.