ITOCHU Announces Participation in Project to Research and Develop CO2 Underground Storage Technology

June 22, 2021

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter "ITOCHU") announced today that, together with ITOCHU Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Shuichi Arase, President & CEO), it is joining the Geological Carbon Dioxide Storage Technology Research Association (hereinafter "Research Association") to participate in a project to research and develop technologies for underground sequestration of carbon dioxide (hereinafter CO2). ITOCHU aims to build a business model for the CO2 capture chain through this initiative.

Amid gathering momentum for decarbonization around the world, Japan declared in October 2020 that the country will be carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve this goal, CO2 capture and storage technology (hereinafter CCS) is expected to be a significant measure to reduce CO2 in both the energy sector (power stations etc.) and the industrial sector (factories etc.), which account for more than 60% of all CO2 emissions in Japan. To achieve the long-term goals* set out in the Paris Agreement, it is thought that CCS will account for approximately 9% of CO2 reduction in 2050. Where social implementation of CCS is concerned, the United States and Europe are already preparing the environment for commercialization, but in Japan public and private initiatives are needed to address issues such as identifying and securing suitable storage sites, CO2 transportation, and social receptivity of CO2 storage. Aiming for social implementation of CCS in Japan, the Research Association will carry out research and development with the goals of obtaining social receptivity for CCS, and developing technologies specializing in underground storage of CO2 on a practical scale that is suited to the storage sites (1 million tons/year).

In the new Medium-Term Management Plan, ITOCHU lists "Contribute and engage with the SDGs" among its Basic Policies. One such specific measure is the aim to decarbonize society by building a business model for the CO2 capture chain using CCS. We will not only acquire the technical expertise related to underground storage of CO2, but also contribute to speeding up the implementation of the Research Association's stated goal of safe and efficient sequestration of CO2 on a large scale by carrying out economic analysis that incorporates the perspective of commercialization through our work for the Research Association. Moreover, we will make efforts in building a business model for the CO2 capture chain that links sources of emission with appropriate storage sites combined by also joining the research and demonstration project for CO2 transport via ships, which was announced separately as follows.

Ref: The research and demonstration project for CO2 transport via ships

  • * The so-called 2ºC goal of keeping the average rise in global temperatures below two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

About CO2 capture and CCS Technology

CCS is the abbreviation for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. It is a technology that separates and captures CO2 emissions from power stations, chemical plants and etc., before compressing and storing it deep underground.

(Source: Agency for Natural Resources and Energy)

Outline of the Geological Carbon Dioxide Storage Technology Research Association

(1) Summary of initiatives aimed at practical implementation
・Establish safety management technologies for large-scale CO2 compression/storage facilities
・Establish effective compression/utilization technologies for large-scale storage sites
・Prepare conditions for CCS dissemination, prepare standards

(2) Address: 9-2, Kizugawadai, Kizugawa-Shi, Kyoto
On the premises of the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth

(3) Chairman: Shinichi Hiramatsu (Oyo Corporation, Advisor)
Association members: OYO Corporation, INPEX CORPORATION, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd., Taisei Corporation, Electric Power Development Co.,Ltd., JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, ITOCHU Corporation, ITOCHU Oil Exploration Co., Ltd.