SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China Petrochemical Corp, or Sinopec, said on Monday it started building a carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) project in east China, the largest of its kind in the country, as part of the refiner's goal to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
The Asian company has been planning to cap its carbon emissions at peak levels prior to a national timeline set by the government for 2030, both through its work to increase hydrogen output and the treatment and capture of carbon dioxide.
The CCUS project involves capturing carbon dioxide produced from a Sinopec's Qilu refinery in eastern Shandong province during a hydrogen-making process, and then injecting it into 73 oil wells in nearby Shengli oilfield, Sinopec said in a statement.
At a purified rate of more than 99%, carbon dioxide can be mixed with crude oil and help generate higher oil production.
Sinopec estimated that 10.68 million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be injected into the oilfield over the next 15 years and boost crude oil production by nearly 3 million tonnes.
The project is scheduled to start operations at the end of this year, Sinopec said, adding that it plans to build similar projects in neighboring Jiangsu province, by capturing and utilizing carbon dioxide from refinery and petrochemical plants there and using them to boost oil output at its Huadong and Jiangsu oilfields.
The state oil and gas producer said it would explore setting up a CCUS research and development centre, but did not provide financial details about these investments.
A growing number of countries including China are targeting net zero carbon dioxide emissions by around the middle of the century in the wake of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
To achieve that, the amount of carbon dioxide captured must rocket to 800 million tonnes in 2030 from around 40 million tonnes currently and require up to $160 billion investment, the International Energy Agency said last September.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)