Report: $759bn required for petrochemicals to achieve net-zero

759 billion dollars.

That’s how much the petrochemicals sector is estimated to need if it’s going to achieve net-zero by 2050, if this recent report by research firm BloombergNEF (BNEF) is anything to go by.

Titled “Decarbonizing Petrochemicals: A Net Zero Pathway”, the report states that electrification and carbon capture and storage (CCS) will likely play a key role in reducing emissions from the production of high-value chemicals (HVCs), which are responsible for up to 2% of global emissions.

The report also describes how falling CCS and electrification costs could ultimately reduce emissions to net zero, even while significantly increasing total production. This investment would cost close to $759 billion, or 1 per cent of the amount needed to decarbonise the entire global energy sector by 2050.

However, the report also warns that decarbonising industrial supply chain could drive costs up across several sectors, and that without “significantly accelerated” cost declines, the onus of paying more for products will fall to taxpayers.

“Deploying these technologies will be expensive in the short term, but it could set the sector on a lower-cost decarbonization path.” Said Ilhan Savut, sustainable materials analyst at BNEF and lead author of the report.

“Large-scale capex spending must start before the end of the decade if the petrochemical industry has any hope of reaching net-zero… Given their long asset lifetimes, chemicals players must move quickly and fund net-zero projects as soon as possible, or risk getting locked out of key technologies.”