Capturing Carbon Opens Paths Into China EnergyBEIJING -- China is expected to produce more greenhouse gas than any other country over the next 20 years, but Beijing is working to develop technology that can capture carbon dioxide and store it underground.
And these efforts are creating new investment opportunities for foreign companies as the more common paths into China's energy sector are being closed off and reserved for state enterprises.
Carbon sequestration, the removal and storage of carbon dioxide, a gas tied to global warming, is gaining more attention in China because of the country's vast coal reserves, aging oil fields and new coal-fired power stations. Burning coal produces carbon dioxide.
The U.S. and other countries are trying to develop power plants that trap carbon dioxide and stick it underground, perhaps to help recovery in aging oil fields or to use in other industrial contexts.
Carbon sequestration is still in the early phases of development, but there is increasing interest, despite the technical challenges.
The latest reminder came Friday, when energy companies from Hong Kong and Canada said they would team up with China's leading producer of natural gas from coal.
Hong Kong-listed Enviro Energy International Holdings Ltd. and Canada's Petromin Resources Ltd. signed a deal with China United Coalbed Methane Corp. for a five-year project in the coal-rich province of Shanxi in northern China.
Supported in part by funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) project will involve drilling wells in a coal bed that is 1,000 meters below the surface and unsuitable for commercial mining. Canada's Alberta Research Council will provide technical expertise.
"The ultimate target for this project is to try to capture CO2 from power plants and chemical plants and then inject this C02 into the deep coal [bed] and also to enhance coal-bed-methane production," said Sun Maoyuan, chairman of China United Coalbed Methane.
China wants to increase the use of methane, the explosive gas that has caused scores of deadly accidents in China's coal mines. Typically, methane is just burnt off, releasing more greenhouse gases, but it can be captured and used to power turbines in power plants.
China wants the methane from coal beds to supplement natural-gas supplies. Two-thirds of China's energy needs are met by coal, which produces around three times more carbon dioxide than gas-power generators. A typical 500-megawatt power station emits more than 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide a day.
Rising electricity demand has forced China to add more than 90 gigawatts of power-generating capacity in each of the past two years. That is equivalent to the combined generating capacity of the U.K. and France in 2006-07. A $9 million test project at the nearby South Qinshui Basin in Shanxi province, involving the Alberta Research Council, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and China United Coalbed Methane, showed that methane rates nearly double to 55% when carbon dioxide is injected into the coal bed.
Petromin attends 2007 World Energy & Chemicals Exhibition Conference (WECEC) in Kuwait Learn more >
Under the guidance of Petromin Resources Ltd and the Canadian Heavy Oil Association, Canada formalizes strong ties to the Kuwait Oil industry. The World Energy and Chemicals Exhibition and Conference (WECEC) held its event for the first time in Kuwait from October 22-25, 2007. Although modest by international standards such as OTC or the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary, it was undoubtedly the largest oil and gas event ever held in Kuwait. The central theme of the exhibition and accompanying seminars/presentations was heavy oil and thanks to a close collaboration between Petromin Resources Ltd, the Canadian Heavy Oil Association (CHOA), Natural Resources Canada/CANMET, the Alberta’s International, Intergovernmental & Aboriginal Relations Department and the Embassy, the Canadian presence at this event was quite significant. This strong Canadian presence combined with an aggressive communication strategy from Petromin and the Embassy, ensured that the Kuwait oil and gas industry became aware that Canada is the best worldwide source for solutions to problems associated with heavy oil.
Under the aegis of Petromin Resources Ltd. and the Canadian Heavy Oil Association, Canada had six booths, including an Embassy/Government of Alberta information booth, incorporated into a single Canadian stand. Occupying the other spaces were Kudu Industries Inc, SNC-Lavalin, Worley Parsons - Colt Engineering and Regent Energy Group. Other Canadian companies and organizations present were the Alberta Research Council, Evans Consoles, CANMET, Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy Inc., MEG Energy Corp., University of Calgary, Aquaguard, and Well Resources Inc. In addition to the exhibition, the Canadian contingent coordinated by Petromin presented approximately forty per cent of the technical papers over the course of the four day event.
As an unofficial conclusion to the Conference, on October 25, 2007, three dailies, Al Qabas, Al Watan and Annahar published an interview with Dr. Hassan Hamza, Director General of CANMET, on his views with regard to the future of the oil industry in Kuwait and to negotiations underway between Kuwait and Canada for the exchange of expertise and the transfer of Canadian technical know-how to the Kuwait oil industry.
This was a successful event for Petromin Resources Ltd. and the Canadian petroleum industry. It also was a successful event for the post and its partners which included the government of Alberta, Natural Resources Canada (CANMET) and the Canadian Heavy Oil Association (CHOA) - a cooperative effort which was a win for all concerned. This event was also one on which we can build to support Canadian industry. Our success at the WECEC has raised the profile of Petromin Resources Ltd. and our ability to direct and apply Canada’s expertise in heavy oil to Kuwait.
Since the event, Petromin has made several advances towards initiating business in Kuwait, formalizing a JV agreement with United Oil Projects to propose plans to implement CO2 injection for Enhanced Oil Recovery in Kuwait. In addition, Management will be visiting Kuwait at the end of February to continue talks with the Kuwait Oil Company in regards to Heavy Oil development projects in Northern Kuwait.