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China launches offshore CO2 storage project

This undated photo shows the Deep Sea No 1 gas field, a semi-submersible oil production and storage facility, is located in the waters off South China's Hainan province. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

An offshore carbon dioxide storage model project was officially launched on Monday, marking an important step in the green and low-carbon transition of China's offshore oil exploitation and making it the first project of its kind in China.

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This project, located 190 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong in the Pearl River Mouth Basin of the South China Sea, will permanently store the CO2 byproducts created during offshore oil exploitation, announced the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

This project, located 190 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong in the Pearl River Mouth Basin of the South China Sea, will permanently store the CO2 byproducts created during offshore oil exploitation, announced the China National Offshore Oil Corporation

A total of 1.46 million tons of CO2, averaging 300,000 tons per year, will be stored inside underground reservoirs 800 meters below the sea, according to estimation by the corporation.

Chief Engineer Zhang Wei, who is also deputy general manager of the CNOOC Shenzhen subsidiary, explained that the project is a complementary environmental protection program for the Nenping 15-1 oil field cluster. It was made possible due to China's breakthroughs in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in recent years.

"CO2 underground storage is an effective method of greenhouse gas emission reduction," he said. "Completing the project is equivalent to planting 14 million trees, or decommissioning 1 million cars".

Prior to the announcement, China's CCS experiments were primarily conducted in selected onshore regions. The successful implementation of the project will expand China's new CCS industry and business environment.

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A new path is being explored for China's goals of peak carbon dioxide emissions and carbon neutrality, and it holds important and demonstrative significance to China's green exploitation of offshore petroleum fields, said the CNOOC.