The “Petroleum Path” under the Carbon Circular Economy

  During the G20 summit in 2020, Saudi Arabia, as the world’s major oil producer, put the stabilization of the global energy market and the promotion of a carbon circular economy on the “annual important agenda”, and promoted it as the host country of the summit, saying that “if it is adopted on a global scale,” The carbon circular economy plan will effectively reduce carbon emissions while maintaining sufficient energy supply.”
  In November of the same year, after a series of discussions and negotiations, the concept of a carbon circular economy was finally incorporated into the “Statement of the Energy Ministers’ Meeting” and the “Declaration of the G20 Leaders’ Riyadh Summit”, which was supported and endorsed by the G20 member states. International organizations such as the International Association of Energy Economics (IAEE) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have also begun to pay attention to the carbon circular economy, and have cooperated in the compilation of guidance research reports under the carbon circular economy framework, providing optional tools to G20 members and other countries .
  The carbon circular economy is a general term for economic activities that revolve around carbon dioxide reduction, reuse, recycling, and carbon removal, with the aim of converting temporarily emitted carbon into sustainable carbon. Today, when the importance of energy security and climate governance is becoming increasingly prominent, the carbon circular economy has become an important issue for all parties to promote development and transformation.
  In 2021, PetroChina will incorporate “green and low-carbon” into the company’s development strategy, clarified the three-step overall deployment of “clean replacement, strategic succession, and green transformation”, and formulated a timetable and roadmap. Recently, PetroChina released the “Green and Low-Carbon Development Action Plan 3.0” (hereinafter referred to as the “Action Plan”), starting from the concept of “carbon circular economy system”, and proposed the construction of “natural gas +”, “hydrogen +” and “CCUS industrial chain”. “Three innovation points, systematically showing the roadmap of PetroChina’s road to the 2050 carbon circular economy.
  In the context of jointly responding to global climate change, it is an irreversible trend for human main energy to transition from high-carbon to low-carbon and finally achieve green and clean development. Dai Houliang, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and Chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation, said that energy companies are not only large energy producers, but also large energy consumers. They must stand on the main battlefield, be the main force, and fight the initiative in terms of saving energy resources and reducing carbon emissions. .
Human and carbon “love and kill”

  Humans “hate” carbon, but can’t live without it.
  For billions of years, carbon has circulated naturally and steadily among the atmosphere, oceans and terrestrial ecosystems, creating a carbon balance. During the two industrial revolutions, coal and oil became catalysts for the development of productivity. Humans directly exploited fossil resources from the ground. The CO2 emitted broke the carbon balance for a long time, and the earth’s climate and environment changed accordingly.
  Despite the looming climate crisis caused by the greenhouse effect, fossil fuels will continue to play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. According to the Global Energy Sector 2050 Net-Zero Emissions Roadmap released by the International Energy Agency, fossil energy will account for 79% of the world’s total primary energy supply in 2020, and fossil energy will account for 62% in 2030 under the net-zero scenario. 22%.
  According to the 2060 carbon neutral scenario proposed by the Economic and Technological Research Institute of China National Petroleum Corporation, by 2050, China’s coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, hydropower and other renewable energy will account for 12.2%, 8.4%, 13.9%, 9.2%, 10.2% and 46.2%, fossil energy will still play the role of “ballast stone” and “stabilizer” in China’s energy system.
  China is the world’s largest energy producer, with an energy self-sufficiency level of over 80%. China’s per capita energy resources are relatively low, and the foreign dependence of crude oil and natural gas exceeds 70% and 40% respectively. The guarantee of oil and gas resources has become one of the core issues of my country’s energy security. Energy development faces the dual constraints of resource shortage and environmental protection.
  ”This requires us to speed up the formation of a clean, low-carbon, safe, efficient, diversified and complementary modern energy supply system on the premise of ensuring energy security, and strive to improve the independent energy supply capability.” Dai Houliang said that as the world’s largest developing country, a future energy supply system During this period, China will still maintain a rigid growth in energy consumption. Facing the contradiction between increasing energy demand and green and low-carbon transformation, it is necessary to adhere to the energy development strategy of giving priority to energy conservation, strengthen the dual control of energy consumption intensity and total amount, greatly improve energy utilization efficiency, and strictly control Fossil energy consumption.
  The energy industry is a key industry for carbon peaking and carbon neutrality. From the perspective of global practice, optimizing and adjusting through “carbon reduction, carbon use, carbon replacement, and carbon burial” is an effective measure to improve the quality of energy supply, and it is also the main path actively explored by Chinese energy companies including PetroChina. In line with the 4R principles of the carbon circular economy, reduce, reuse, recycle, and remove.

The associated gas recovery and utilization device of PetroChina Changqing Jiyuan Oilfield. Figure / PetroChina
Carbon reduction at the source

  ”Carbon reduction” is to reduce carbon emissions from the source. The focus is to vigorously develop the natural gas business, give full play to the key supporting role of natural gas in the future energy system, and continue to increase the scale development and comprehensive utilization of non-fossil energy such as wind energy, solar energy, and geothermal energy. . “Using carbon” is to continuously improve the utilization rate of carbon, increase the utilization and industrialization of carbon dioxide chemical industry, and enhance the carbon sequestration capacity and scale of the ecosystem.
  ”Because we have broken the carbon balance of the biosphere, we can send the carbon in the biosphere back to the lithosphere in a technically and economically feasible way, and a carbon rebalance has been achieved as a whole.” Chief Executive Officer of QHSE, China National Petroleum Corporation Expert Zhou Aiguo said.
  Natural gas is currently recognized as a clean and low-carbon energy source in the world, and its carbon emission coefficient per unit calorific value is 0.76 of oil and 0.59 of coal. In recent years, PetroChina has made great efforts to ensure supply and adjust the structure, and implement “carbon reduction, carbon use, carbon replacement, and carbon burial” in light of actual conditions, especially focusing on the sustainable supply of clean energy in the future, vigorously developing the natural gas industry, and increasing page Large-scale development of unconventional oil and gas resources such as rock gas, coalbed methane, and tight oil and gas.
  It is the core of energy companies to provide clean energy security for the society, so it must develop in the direction of new energy. As the cleanest fossil energy, natural gas will play a central role in stabilizing the energy transition.
  In 2020, PetroChina’s domestic natural gas production exceeded 130 billion cubic meters, and the output exceeded 100 billion cubic meters for four consecutive years, with an average annual growth rate of more than 10%. For the first time, natural gas accounted for more than 50% of the oil and gas structure, realizing “gas exceeds oil”. “A historic breakthrough. Next, PetroChina will further adjust its energy structure and promote the construction of a natural gas production, supply, storage and marketing system.
  According to the Action Plan, PetroChina relies on the “natural gas +” clean energy development project, and the total domestic natural gas production is expected to account for 54% of the total oil and gas production by 2025, and 59% by 2035.
  ”Basically, we must strive to maintain more than 100 million tons of oil and gas equivalent before 2035.” Yuan Zhengang, director of the Strategy Institute of China Petroleum Planning Institute, told China News Weekly.

  Referring to the “natural gas +” clean energy development project, Yuan Zhengang pointed out that the most important application is the coupling of natural gas power generation and wind and solar power, and the combination of natural gas and geothermal for power generation or heating. For example, the supply of natural gas is relatively tight in the winter heating season in the north. If geothermal energy is used, the pressure on supply of natural gas during the winter peak period will be less, which can effectively alleviate the shortage of natural gas resources.
  As an important low-carbon energy source at this stage and in the future, natural gas is an important energy choice to support my country’s carbon peaking. More and more renewable energy sources also use natural gas as a conversion medium, such as hydrogen production.
Aiming for “zero carbon”

  Green hydrogen produced from non-biomass renewable energy sources does not emit carbon directly, when blue hydrogen is produced from hydrocarbons, the carbon is captured and reused through geological storage or through carbon utilization, green hydrogen produced from bioenergy passes through The natural carbon cycle recycles carbon. Hydrogen plays a unique role in a carbon circular economy due to its ability to span all aspects of the carbon cycle.
  In the field of power generation, natural gas power generation and hydrogen energy storage power generation are two forms of peak-shaving power that support the stability of the new power system. Uncertainty about renewable energy has spawned hydrogen energy storage, while also accelerating the industry shaping of hydrogen energy. Due to the objective factors of uneven spatial and temporal distribution of wind, light, and hydropower, natural gas and hydrogen energy will play a greater role in consumption and peak regulation.
  Dai Houliang pointed out that “replacement of carbon” is to effectively replace traditional fossil energy, promote clean power to replace coal power, accelerate the production and large-scale application of hydrogen energy, expand the scale of “green power” utilization, and continue to improve the level of electrification. This requires active expansion of geothermal energy, solar energy, biomass energy and other new energy businesses, accelerating the business layout of the hydrogen energy industry chain, and orderly progress in the construction of a “low-carbon energy ecosystem” that integrates fossil energy and new energy.
  ”We propose to develop a ‘hydrogen+’ zero-carbon fuel supply system, which consists of hydrogen plus ammonia, biomass and synthetic fuels to provide better products for a carbon-neutral society.” Petrochemical Research Institute of China National Petroleum Corporation Chief expert Zhang Xuejun said.
  However, at present, the cost and technology of hydrogen production from natural gas are still difficult problems to be solved.
  The cost of hydrogen production from natural gas is mainly composed of natural gas, fuel gas and manufacturing costs, of which the price of natural gas is the most important factor. From the demand side, fuel cell vehicles have not yet been widely used, so the scale effect cannot be formed, and the cost of the entire industry chain is relatively high.
  ”For example, the cost of selling 500 kilograms of hydrogen per day is definitely different from selling 5 tons of hydrogen per day. Labor costs, investment, equipment depreciation, etc. must be considered. The market capacity is still relatively small, so hydrogen energy is still relatively expensive.” Zhang Xuejun said.
  At present, hydrogen energy is still in the strategic layout stage under the “dual carbon” goal. With the gradual expansion of the market size of hydrogen energy utilization and technological progress in the future, the manufacturing cost of hydrogen energy will also decrease. Among them, technological innovation is the key.
  As Dai Houliang said, the energy industry should give full play to its own advantages, take technological innovation as a breakthrough, firmly grasp the initiative of innovation and development in its own hands, and comprehensively promote the technological innovation of the whole chain of hydrogen energy “production, storage, transportation and utilization” to form a safe A series of high-efficiency and low-cost hydrogen energy technologies to speed up the decarbonization process and boost the supply of “zero carbon” energy.
carbon cycle closed

  In 2014, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (“OGCI”) was formally established, and its current members include Saudi Aramco, BP Group (BP), Chevron, PetroChina, Eni, Aquino, 12 companies including Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, Petrobras, Repsol, Shell and Total Energy. These powerful members of the oil and gas industry are “collectively adopting a net-zero strategy and making a carbon reduction impact that cannot be achieved by a single member company alone”.
  And carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is the key investment target of OGCI.
  Based on the carbon circular economy model, in order to form a closed loop, the carbon escaping from the first three links must be recovered and stored through carbon capture. “Carbon burial” is to actively explore and improve the technical path and benefit path of carbon capture and carbon storage, implement carbon dioxide flooding and carbon dioxide sequestration on a large scale, and continue to expand the “zero carbon” and “negative carbon” industries.
  ”By developing the carbon-negative technology industry chain, PetroChina has achieved our own near-zero emissions while also providing the society with carbon-neutral industrialization services, making our carbon-negative technology industry chain a strategic replacement industry for the company.” Zhou Patriotic expression.
  It is reported that 10 oil and gas fields of PetroChina have carried out 11 major development tests of carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). In the next step, PetroChina will launch the “Four Project Demonstrations” and “Six Pilot Tests” represented by the 3 million-ton CCUS major demonstration project in the Songliao Basin, to further promote PetroChina’s CCUS industry into the fast lane of large-scale development.
  Li Xingchun, chief technical expert of the China Petroleum Safety and Environmental Protection Technology Research Institute, said that it is expected that by 2050, PetroChina will be able to provide 400 million tons of carbon dioxide storage services to the society, becoming a policy promoter in the CCUS field, a technology innovator, and a standard The maker, the leader of the industry.
  For oil and gas companies, the carbon circular economy is to provide the society with clean, safe and affordable energy, and at the same time achieve the return of carbon through efficient use of energy resources, carbon capture, utilization and storage, and natural carbon sinks.
  In this regard, Dai Houliang pointed out that PetroChina will further play its role as the only member company of OGCI in China, deeply participate in the international cooperation on climate change, and work together with other international energy companies to achieve green and low-carbon development of the oil and gas industry, and promote the establishment of a fair and reasonable , a win-win global climate governance system.
  According to the “Action Plan”, PetroChina is following the three-step overall deployment of “clean replacement, strategic succession, and green transformation”, making every effort to create a path towards a 2050 carbon circular economy, “strive to become China’s ‘dual-carbon’ goal and ensure energy The backbone of security.” Dai Houliang said in the preface to the Action Plan.

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