Monday, April 20, 2009

The implications of transporting carbon dioxide by ship

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: The Danish shipping giant, Maersk Tankers, has announced that it is prepared to enter the CO2 transportation market in a move that has implications not only for carbon capture and storage (CCS) but also the DME industry.

As reported in the March 13th issue of the Carbon Capture Journal, Maersk says it has examined the business case for entering into the CO2 transportation market and is optimistic about its prospects.

Another Maersk company, Maersk Oil, is also involved in the plan. Michael Engell-Jensen, senior vice president and head of Maersk Oil’s Carbon and Climate Department, said that: “Given our experience from the Danish underground in the North Sea and the high-level of knowledge we have gained from that, Maersk Oil is investigating CO2 mitigation technologies for the geological storage of CO2 to meet the expected demand.”

That a major global transportation and energy player like Maersk has a solid rationale for entering the CO2 transport and mitigation sectors not only helps validate the growing importance of the worldwide CCS industry, but also has significant implications for companies which plan to produce carbon-neutral DME.

Since, as Maersk says, "transporting CO2 by sea is cost-competitive and more flexible than pipelines on longer distances or in smaller quantities," companies interested in carbon-neutral fuel generation or CCS should now have wider access to CO2, which should mean greater flexibility in terms of both prices and geographical sourcing. Without such transportation options, carbon-neutral DME producers or enterprises involved in CCS would be forced to locate production or storage facilities closer to their CO2 sources and therefore have their production or storage limited by geography and not market or environmental demand.

Maerk's CO2 transportation initiative also allows CCS and Blue Fuel-producing companies to save on infrastructure investment (e.g., pipelines) and to implement their programs more rapidly.

Maersk has also correctly highlighted the importance of being able to purchase CO2 in smaller quantities and from multiple sources. With increased CO2 supply options, Blue Fuel producers or CCS companies can match supply with demand and tailor their capacities based on pricing, availability, timing, and quantity instead of just location.

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