Total inaugurates CCS pilot in southwest France

Total Exploration & Production France on Jan. 11 inaugurated a carbon capture, transportation, and storage pilot project at the Lacq natural gas processing plant and industrial complex in southwestern France.

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Jan. 12 -- Total Exploration & Production France on Jan. 11 inaugurated a carbon capture, transportation, and storage pilot project at the Lacq natural gas processing plant and industrial complex in southwestern France.

Carbon dioxide will be injected for storage in the depleted Rousse gas field, which was selected for the pilot project because it’s isolated from other reservoirs and is not directly connected with any aquifer.

An estimated 120,000 tonnes of CO2 will be injected into Rousse field during 2 years. Sensors placed within 7 observation wells will monitor closely the stored CO2 for 3 years after the injection is completed, Total said. Some monitoring will continue beyond the 3 years, Total added.

The pilot project involves changes at both Rousse field and at Lacq.

At Lacq, Air Liquide is supplying oxycombustion carbon capture technology in a steam boiler. Oxycombustion replaces the air in a boiler with pure oxygen, creating flue gas that is 90-95% CO2. Lacq currently has five steam boilers of which one was converted for the oxycombustion process.

Until now, CO2 emissions from the boiler were released into the atmosphere. Air Liquide developed burners used in the oxycombustion process and also is providing oxygen.

Once purified, the CO2 will be compressed and transported via an existing 27-km pipeline to Rousse field where the CO2 will be injected 4,500 m deep. This pipeline formerly transported gas from Rousse field to the Lacq plant. Also at Rousse, the injection well needed a work over and a compression unit was installed.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that CCS has the potential to mitigate one third of carbon emissions and could be used at 7,000 industrial plants worldwide by 2050. Total believes oxycombuston could reduce by 50% the capture costs, which typically account for two thirds of the expense in a CCS project.

Total said it will pay most costs for the pilot project. Cost is estimated at €60 million project. The French Petroleum Institute, the French Bureau of Geological and Mining Research, and others are participating in the pilot project.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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