Ben van Beurden

Carbon capture and  storage (CCS) is a key technology in the transition to a low-carbon future and in the fight against climate change. Effective, government-led carbon pricing systems, argues Ben van Beurden, could help drive the wider use of CCS in the long term. In the short term, however, support from governments is indispensable. With its support for Quest, Canada is one of the pivotal pioneers in this field.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, 

It is with some pride that I stand before you today. The opening of Quest is a true milestone. The world needs to meet growing demand for energy in a responsible way. And carbon capture and storage, CCS, is a crucial part of this endeavour.

I congratulate all of you who have made Quest a reality. I thank both the provincial and federal governments for their support. And I welcome Quest as a potentially valuable step towards CCS becoming a viable and widespread technology.

Why, ladies and gentlemen, is CCS important? Today, 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity. Some 3 billion people still burn firewood, charcoal or other things to cook and heat their homes. 

Lack of access to energy, in short, is still far too common. This isn’t just about having a nice kitchen or a new television set. Energy access often makes the difference between poverty and prosperity.  

So the world is looking for ways to bring energy to more people. But this isn’t the only challenge. There will also be more people on this planet. There will be more people living in cities. And more people will buy their first car or computer.   

For these reasons, the demand for energy is likely to grow. True, the rise of renewables will help meet demand. And I think we all agree that’s good. But for technical and economic reasons, it will not happen overnight.

The world will need hydrocarbons for decades to come. But then there is the challenge of tackling climate change, of course. When burnt for energy, hydrocarbons emit greenhouse gases like CO2. So reducing emissions from power plants and industrial sites is a priority.

Now, CCS captures CO2 and stores it safely under the ground. Quest is designed to capture more than one million tonnes of CO2 each year, representing one-third of CO2 emissions from the Scotford Upgrader.  

This is why Quest, why CCS, is so important.

Of course we need other measures too: CCS is not a silver bullet. But it’s a key technology in the transition to a low-carbon future and in the fight against climate change. It’s key according to the International Energy Agency. It’s key according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And it’s key according to many other renowned institutes all over the world.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, 

In the long term, I expect effective, government-led carbon pricing systems to help drive the wider use of CCS. This is why we urge governments to introduce such systems where they do not exist and to create a framework that could connect all national systems.

In the short term, however, support from governments is indispensable. Canada is one of the pivotal pioneers. 

Over the past year, delegations from all over the world have visited Quest. Recently, Shell spoke about CCS with officials in Brussels and London. And today, many international observers are present. The world is watching, and keen to learn from the Canadian experience.

To advance CCS, the knowledge gained from Quest is freely shared with others.

And this will continue to happen in the future. This way, Quest can be a blueprint for new commercial-scale CCS projects.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen:

Canada and Shell have good reason to feel some pride in Quest. We invite the world to follow.

Thank you.

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