UCL attends 5th IEA International CCS Regulatory Network Meeting in Paris

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 28 June 2013

The 5th IEA International CCS Regulatory Network Meeting was held in Paris on 18 and 19 June 2013. This event brought together a wide range of stakeholders from around the world to discuss solutions to key challenges facing governments in developing both incentives and regulatory frameworks for CCS technologies. Research Associate Chiara Armeni presented some of the Centre’s work on the legal status of CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR). Professor Richard Macrory led the closing session, summing up the key lessons learnt and challenges raised earlier during the meeting.

The main topics under discussion were: the role played by governments in incentivising and enabling CCS, both from a financial and regulatory point of view; the need for more effective financial support mechanisms, both at national, regional (e.g. through the NER300) and international (e.g. through the CDM and NAMAs) level; managing exploration issues, such as multiple uses of the subsurface; the interplay between Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and CCS; and working towards greater public acceptance. A recurring theme was the dilemma that whilst gaps in the legal framework for CCS create uncertainties for developers, these same developers simultaneously desire a level of flexibility so that e.g. permit conditions might be adapted according to the more or less advanced stage of the project.

So far, the key obstacles to the development of CCS have first and foremost been the low carbon price and lack of sufficient alternative financial incentives, especially in Europe. Despite large-scale CCS development lagging behind schedule, however, the meeting highlighted that positive developments have taken place. Lessons learned from successful CCS projects have contributed to the industry’s greater technical capacity and knowledge required to develop CCS in practice. Best practice has shown how to engage the public and other stakeholders from an early stage when developing a project, which has proven to be essential to a project’s success even where this goes beyond legal requirements. Key challenges remain regulatory issues, such as the new Class VI rule in the USA which applies to wells used for the injection of CO2 (but not EOR); the division of powers between various levels of government in certain countries, and the extent of governmental involvement required; and creating the right financial incentives for operators to engage in CCS.

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