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Building a World-Leading Low Carbon Business: Pushing Profitable Decarbonisation to the Limits

Over the coming weeks we will be reflecting on the insightful and interactive panel discussions from the Energy & Sustainability Forum Europe that took place from 21-23 March in Berlin, and first up is our keynote producer panel, ‘Building a World-Leading Low Carbon (Downstream) Business – Pushing Profitable Decarbonisation to the Limits’.

Alan Gelder, Downstream Global SME, VP Refining, Wood Mackenzie moderated an impressive line-up of panellists, Jaime Martin Juez, Executive Director, Technology & Corporate Venturing, Repsol, Ahmed M. AlKhunaini, President & CEO, Aramco Europe, Niels Anspach, VP Bio & Low Carbon, BP Europa SE and Walmir Soller, O/P VP Europe & Asia, CEO Braskem Netherlands.

The discussion kicked off discussing decarbonisation routes with our panellists in agreement that when it comes to decarbonisation, there are three main routes, namely, reduce, recycle and remove. Mr AlKhunaini shared some examples of what they are doing in each area at Aramco, from combined cycle and heat power retrofitting, to harnessing and converting the CO2 as a building block to fertilisers and carbon capture and re-injection. Furthermore, the company are attempting to produce CO2 free products, with examples shared of the recent first shipment of blue ammonia to Japan, as well as the company’s 12 R&D global centres working on promising research that could reduce the emissions of the internal combustion engine by 60-70%.

When it comes to scope 1 and 2 emissions, Repsol are radically redefining and refining their end-to-end process, electrifying as much as possible. Looking at Scope 3, Jaime commented that we cannot recover the emissions from all our processes and activities without thinking about what is the emissions from the use of our products.

Discussing biofuels, as one of the scalable, proven technologies, our panel were convinced they are critical. Over the next decade BP will invest into five major biofuels projects with the aim to produce 100 kbd of bioenergy by 2030.

Far more than only transitional, there is a huge integration opportunity with blue and green hydrogen. If vegetable oil co-processing can be complemented and integrated with green hydrogen, there are considerable CO2 savings compared to fossil fuels.

Further advocating the possibilities that biofuels present, our panel explored their role in decarbonising significant portions of hard the abate sectors. In road transportation, EVs will drive down gasoline, but gasoline will remain a significant portion of the pool. In heavy duty transport, over the next 10-20 years diesel will not be completely removed, and so the fossil based liquid molecules must be substituted with lower carbon intensity alternatives.

Addressing bio feedstocks, it was noted that we need to have in mind that the boundary conditions of fossil feedstocks have changed with climate change, and we need to consider the broader externalities of what we do and that the same applies to bio feedstocks.

This article is part of the upcoming ESF Europe 2022 Post-Show Report. If you have enjoyed the piece and wish to read more, complete the form to read the full report.