There is jubilation and rejoicing over the shut-down of the U.K.’s white elephant of a carbon capture and storage project at Longannet, Scotland. Shell was one of the parties developing that project. The project was shut down, because it is too expensive. Of course, without massive subsidization through tax- and utility-rates no one in their right mind would have expected a profitable rate of return on capital investment. Read more about it.
There is a comparably-sized CCS project in the planning and engineering stages in Alberta, Canada, Shell Quest CCS project that is supposed to capture CO2 from the Shell Scotford oilsands upgrader, pipe it to Thorhild and blow it down Mother Earth’s derriere through a number of boreholes there, to have it “safely” stored forever, thousands of feet below the surface.
There are CCS projects that use CO2 injection into oil-bearing strata to boost the production of crude oil in oil fields that approach the limits of production by conventional methods. No one ever made the slightest pretense that the CCS project at Longannet, nor the Shell’s Quest CCS project at Scotford, Alberta, ever were to provide a return on capital investment. Both projects are manifestations of the politicians’ mania of obsessing with using CCS projects as thermostats with which to regulate what cannot practically be regulated, namely global CO2 contents in the air and thereby our climate trends.
The CO2 that is supposed to be sequestered is a beneficial atmospheric trace gas, a natural fertilizer that increases the productivity of the biosphere and agriculture. U.K. politicians have come to their senses and put an end to their squandering of more than a billion dollars on a folly that cannot possibly have more than a minuscule, unmeasurable impact on climate trends, while at best the role of CO2 on those trends has not yet been substantiated. Meanwhile, Canada’s politicians still want to carry on with their obsessing.
About three percent of global, annual CO2 emissions are man-made, 97 percent of CO2 emissions are from natural sources that are not affected in the least by such CCS projects. The CCS projects that are slated to be put into operation are expensive, and their costs will be born by consumers of electricity and other forms of energy, whose rates will be jacked up considerably to pay for the folly of trying to do the impossible.
Shell’s Quest project at Scotford, Alberta, will be funded mainly by Alberta taxpayers (about $800 million). Federal tax revenues will provide about $200 million, and Shell will contribute roughly $150 million, which costs will without a doubt be recovered through the price for oil that will be produced and sold by the Scotford upgrader. Also without a doubt, Shell’s Quest CCS project will generate wealth for Shell (mark-up on oil prices), for the provincial and federal governments (through taxes that are called royalties), while the taxpayers and the consumers of energy will be left holding the bill. The consumers and taxpayers never turn out to be the winners in these games.