Regulatory Framework for CCS

The Importance of Regulating CCS

Governments implement regulatory frameworks to ensure that projects will be safely and effectively developed, operated and closed. The sequestration of CO2 must happen in a safe manner that protects people, the environment and other sub-surface resources such as wat‌‌‌er. Furthermore, we need to verify the quantity of CO2 being stored and ensure it remains underground permanently.

In most jurisdictions, there will be existing regulations which can be used or adapted to regulate the capture and transport aspects of CCS; however existing regulation of the sub-surface is unlikely to be fit to address the injection and storage of CO2 in most jurisdictions. Regulatory frameworks for the sequestration of CO2 will need to address a range of issues including: the scope of CO2 sequestration projects; rights associated with the CO2 and to the sub-surface; permitting the project; project development through exploration to operation and closure; and liability for the behavior of the CO2.

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Most countries leading the deployment of CCS have enacted laws and regulations governing the sequestration of CO2; however these frameworks are yet to be tested by large-scale projects in many of these jurisdictions. These frameworks are based on existing law and most commonly involve amendments to environmental and petroleum or mining legislation. Several other countries with an interest in CCS are in the process of developing legal and regulatory frameworks.  The first step for many governments is assessing the treatment of CCS under existing frameworks and determining where new legislation or regulation is required.

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IEA Activity in CCS Regulation

‌The IEA produces an annual CCS Legal and Regulatory Review which surveys the recent developments of legal and regulatory frameworks in jurisdictions around the world and analyses common issues or challenges which have emerged.  

The IEA also manages a CCS Regulatory Network which offers an opportunity for policy makers, project proponents and CCS experts to share experiences, discuss new developments and seek advice.  

The IEA also maintains a CCS regulation database which is a comprehensive collection of enacted legislation and regulation governing the sequestration of CO2 from around the world.