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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy is committed to helping the United States continue to rely on traditional sources of secure and affordable energy, while enhancing environmental protection. Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies are key to working toward this mission.

Used in power plants and industrial facilities, these technologies capture carbon dioxide (CO2) before it enters the atmosphere, and either reuse it or store it securely in the ground. CCUS technologies are applicable to coal and natural gas plants and to a wide variety of industrial processes, including cement, steel, ethanol, and refineries.

Baker Hughes Annual Meeting 2020

CCUS was a popular topic of discussion at the Baker Hughes Annual Meeting in Florence, Italy, which concluded on Tuesday, February 4. DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy (ASFE) Steven Winberg kicked off the week with a technical discussion by delivering remarks on the future of CCUS and the changing landscape of the oil and gas industry.

“The reality we confront today is this: As more and more countries eye de-carbonization, CCUS becomes an even more vital clean energy technology,” said ASFE Winberg in his prepared remarks. “As the International Energy Agency notes, wide-spread deployment of CCUS across the power and industrial sectors is critical if we want to have any hope of meeting various global carbon emission reduction targets.”

ASFE Winberg also explained that the oil and natural gas industry is ”uniquely positioned” to lead CCUS deployment. Noting the importance of CCUS in the industry, the National Petroleum Council issued a report that highlights why these technologies are essential to providing affordable and reliable energy while addressing environmental issues.

“They [the oil and gas industry] have developed many of the largest and most complex projects in the world—on-time and on-budget. And, they’re beginning to look very seriously at the environmental and commercial potential of CCUS,” said ASFE Winberg in his prepared remarks. “For example, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative has been making important investments in CCUS.” 

While significant progress is being made, the industry needs to see a strong business case for CCUS. In addition to developing policies that promote investment in CCUS, DOE is investigating new ways to extract an economic benefit or additional value from captured CO2.

At the end of the day, deploying CCUS commercially requires continued public/private collaboration.

“The oil and gas industry’s interest in CCUS is extremely encouraging, and I think it could spur broader deployment of these technologies,” said ASFE Winberg in his prepared remarks. “There are reasons for optimism, but a lot of work remains to be done. And, frankly, without your support and collaboration, it will be exceedingly difficult to deploy CCUS.”

Visit the Office of Fossil Energy’s website for ASFE Winberg’s prepared remarks from the Baker Hughes Annual Meeting, and for more information on DOE’s CCUS program, check out this CCUS fact sheet.