x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 February 2018

Adnoc to boost carbon capture in oilfields by six-fold over the next 10 years

Carbon capture technology will free up gas injected into the fields for other industries and boost oil recovery rates

Al Reyadah, the CCUS facility in Mussaffah owned by Adnoc, currently has the capacity to capture up to 800,000 metric tonnes of CO2 a year. DELORES JOHNSON / The National
Al Reyadah, the CCUS facility in Mussaffah owned by Adnoc, currently has the capacity to capture up to 800,000 metric tonnes of CO2 a year. DELORES JOHNSON / The National

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company plans to expand its carbon capture programme to cater to a six-fold increase in the use of CO2 in maturing oilfields, a measure that will free up gas injected into the fields for other industries and boost oil recovery rates.

The state-owned energy company plans to increase its utilisation of the carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) technology in its fields by capturing CO2 from its own gas processing plants and injecting it into different onshore oilfields, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Adnoc will start to increase utilisation of CO2 in 2021 to reach 250 million standard cubic feet per day by 2027. Current supplies of the green house gas are collected from Emirate Steel Industries and injected into the Rumaitha and Bab oilfields to boost oil recovery. Adnoc plans to increase the oil recovery rate to 70 per cent from its reservoirs, which is twice the global average. Including waterflood, Adnoc achieves up to 50 per cent recovery rate from its fields. Use of enhanced oil recovery techniques, including CO2 and CCUS, can boost recovery rate to up to 70 per cent.

“As we push forward plans to create value by maximising oil recovery over the life time of our fields, we will increasingly utilise a range of Enhanced Oil Recovery technologies, of which carbon capture, use and storage is not only good for the environment but also makes sound business sense,” said Abdulmunim Al Kindy, director of Adnoc’s upstream directorate.

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The International Energy Agency has urged the international community to invest more in carbon capture storage (CCS) technology as a means of tackling climate change.

“The under-investment in CCS is deeply concerning,” said the IEA's executive director Fatih Birol at a summit in November. “We know that we face an unprecedented challenge in meeting climate goals. Without CCS, this challenge will be infinitely greater. We also know that this is essentially a policy question.”

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are leading regional efforts to capture CO2 and inject it into oilfields to free up gas pumped into the fields for use in power and water generation, petrochemical production and other industries. Currently there are 17 carbon capture and storage faciltiies globally and two of them are in the Middle East, in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the Global CCS Institute.

“Replacing rich gas with CO2 injection into Adnoc’s maturing fields will allow the more productive use of valuable clean-burning natural gas, whether for power generation, desalination or as petrochemicals’ feedstock,” said Mr Al Kindy. “This is a prime example of how clean technology can be integrated with traditional energy to optimise resources and reduce the environmental footprint.”

Al Reyadah, the CCUS facility in Mussaffah owned by Adnoc, currently has the capacity to capture up to 800,000 metric tonnes of CO2 and plans to boost that capacity to 5 million metric tonnes per year by 2027.

Saudi Arabia has an 800,000 tonne-capacity CCS plant at Uthmaniya in the eastern province that was set up in 2013. The facility compresses and dehydrates CO2 from the Hawiyah natural gas liquids recovery facility, which is then transported via pipeline to be injected into the Ghawar field, the world's biggest oil field.