Capturing carbon emissions

We invest in projects to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) and we are exploring new ways of using once it has been captured. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to the majority of climate change scenarios produced by the , and Shell.

Shell is involved in seven of the 51 large-scale projects globally, listed in 2019 by the Global CCS Institute. Accelerating the pace of CCS deployment requires continued collaboration between governments, industry and investors, among others, to help unlock financing capacity, accelerate technology development and encourage public support. We recognise the scale of the challenge in developing CCS globally as quickly and as widely as needed.

In 2020, Shell invested around $70 million in CCS. This included progressing opportunities and operating costs for CCS assets in which Shell has an interest. We seek to have access to an additional 25 million tonnes a year of CCS capacity by 2035 – equal to 25 CCS facilities the size of our Quest CCS project in Canada (Shell interest 10%).

Examples of CCS joint ventures with Shell involvement



Northern Lights

TCM CO2 capture test and research facility





Post final investment decision










CO2 source

Gas power
















Industrial (third party)




We are a member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), which is taking steps to unlock large-scale investment in carbon capture, utilisation and storage with a focus on decarbonising industrial hubs around the world, including in Canada, China, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.

In Norway, we are working with Equinor, Total and the Norwegian government to create a market across Europe for industry to capture and safely store CO2. In 2020, the government approved the final investment decision for the Northern Lights CCS project, which will transport CO2 from industrial sites by ship to a plant on Norway’s west coast. CO2 will then be piped to a reservoir around 3,000 metres below the seabed to be safely and permanently stored.

Using ships to transport the captured enables more sectors to take advantage of CCS technology, for example, industrial companies based far from a pipeline or suitable CO2 reservoir.

We are also part of an industry partnership with BP, Eni, Equinor and Total that in 2020 took ownership of the Net Zero Teesside project, which was launched by the OGCI to build the UK’s first zero-carbon industrial cluster. The BP-operated project will build a transportation and storage system to gather industrial CO2, compress it and store it safely in a reservoir under the seabed.

A man working at the Quest carbon capture and storage facility in Alberta, Canada. (photo)

Our Quest CCS in Canada was designed to capture about 1 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

By the end of 2020, our Quest CCS project had captured and safely stored more than 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 since it began operating in 2015. In Australia, the Chevron-operated Gorgon CCS project (Shell interest 25%), which started operating in August 2019, had stored more than 4 million tonnes of CO2 by the end of 2020. Gorgon is the largest CCS operation in the world.

How carbon capture and storage works

See what is involved in the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide deep underground


CO2 capture separates CO2 from gas before it is emitted using a chemical solvent. The captured CO2 is separated from the solvent and compressed into a liquid form for transport.

There are three different process technologies to capture CO2:

  • Pre-combustion
  • Post-combustion
  • and Oxyfuel.

CO2 is generally pumped through a pipeline, taking the CO2 from the industrial site where it has been produced to its storage site, which may be onshore or offshore.


CO2 is injected deep underground into the microscopic spaces in porous rocks. A layer of impermeable rock, called a cap rock, lies directly above the porous rocks ensuring that the CO2 remains there permanently.

Measuring, monitoring & verification

Monitoring of storage sites takes place within the storage reservoir, as well as at the injection well, where sensors can detect small changes in pressure or CO2 levels. In addition, a number of monitoring technologies can be incorporated within the geosphere, biosphere and atmosphere surrounding the storage site to make sure the CO2 is permanently stored.

In the IEA’s sustainable development scenario, carbon capture, utilisation and storage accounts for nearly 15% of the cumulative reduction in emissions. (pie chart)

The role of CO2 storage

In the IEA’s sustainable development scenario, carbon capture, utilisation and storage accounts for nearly 15% of the cumulative reduction in emissions.

Source: International Energy Agency 2020 report: CCUS in Clean Energy Transitions 2020 at

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International Energy Agency
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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
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carbon capture and storage
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