This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 209468, “CCUS In China: Challenges and Opportunities,” by Hu Guo, China University of Petroleum; Xiuqin Lyu, Sinopac Northwest Oil Field Company; and En Meng, China University of Petroleum, et al. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

One of the most attractive carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS) applications in China is that of carbon dioxide (CO2) enhanced oil recovery with captured CO2 (CCS EOR). CO2 EOR with captured CO2 presents an important path for China. The complete paper reviews the progress of CCUS technology in China. The current challenges of CCS EOR include high capture costs, small scale, low incremental oil recovery, and huge capital input. The costs can be significantly reduced when the scale is enlarged to the commercial level and transportation costs are further reduced by pipelines or trains.

Importance of CCUS

At the time of writing, 49 CCUS pilots or field tests had been conducted or were under construction in China. CCUS demonstration projects were small-scale, and no projects involving more than 1.0 million tons of CO2 per year (mtpa) were conducted. 1.3 million tons of CO2 were estimated to be injected in 2020 for EOR use. The authors reference a study that mentions nine CO2 EOR projects. Among these, the Jilin oilfield project was notable for its size of 2.0 million cumulative tons of CO2 injected.

CO2-enhanced coalbed methane was also an attractive option for China, and several field tests were conducted by CNOOC and its partners. Another notable CCUS demonstration project involved the Shaanxi Jinjie power plant. This was the largest coal-fired power postcombustion (PC) CO2-capture project, with a capture capacity of 0.15 mtpa. The project began in November 2019. In January 2021, equipment installation was completed. By June of 2021, 168 trial operations had been passed. The captured CO2 will be used for EOR. This demonstration project will gain knowledge to reduce PC CO2 emissions, a great challenge for China because the majority of electricity is based on coal combustion. Gas processing and power plants rank first for the US in terms of CCUS project numbers. Power plants also rank first in the number of CCUS projects for China, but the number of natural-gas-processing projects was much less.

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