Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) plans to expand its carbon capture programme in 2019 from one of two gas facilities as it seeks to reduce emissions from its operations and free up gas used in oil recovery for other uses.
Carbon-capture involves collecting CO2 produced from gas facilities and injecting it in oil reservoirs to enhance crude recovery while storing emissions underground. The 2019 programme will be ramped up either from the Shah ultra-sour gas plant or Habshan-Bab gas processing facilities, Adnoc said on Wednesday.
“CCUS [carbon capture utilisation and storage] is an important part of a range of critical solutions to mitigate industrial CO2 emissions and reducing environmental footprints, while responding to the increasing need for energy and the continuously growing demand for oil and gas, in particular,” said Omar Al Suwaidi, Adnoc executive office director. “Not only does the technology help address environmental concerns by safely locking away CO2, but it also enables valuable and cleaner burning gas, previously used to enhance oil recovery, to be leveraged for other purposes, including power generation, desalination and industrial uses.”
Adnoc started its carbon capture programme in 2009, when it launched a pilot project to inject CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, the technique used to boost pumping of crude from reservoirs. In 2016, the Abu Dhabi clean energy company Masdar teamed up with Adnoc to launch Al Reyadah, now owned by Adnoc Onshore. Al Reyadah, a commercial-scale CCUS facility, captures 800,000 tonnes of CO2 annually from Emirate Steel Industries and injects it into reservoirs in Rumaitha and Bab oilfields to boost crude recovery.
The state-owned company plans a six-fold increase in the utilisation of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery by capturing 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, or 250 million standard cubic feet per day before 2030.
Adnoc will decide in 2019 whether to capture CO2 from Habshan-Bab or Shah, which will not interrupt production from either operation.
The Shah plant, a joint venture between Adnoc and Occidental Petroleum Corporation of the US, processes 1.3 billion standard cubic feet per day of ultra-sour gas, which has a high level of sulphur and associated condensates - liquids similar to oil found with gas. The plant’s production has over 20 per cent hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and 10 per cent CO2.
By 2025, modifications to the facility will allow the capture and utilisation for enhanced oil recovery of 2.3 million tonnes per year or 120 million standard cubic feet per day of CO2.
The Habshan-Bab facility can process up to 6.2 billion standard cubic feet per day of associated gas, making it the largest such complex in the UAE. The facility could capture 1.9 million tonnes per year of CO2, or 100 million standard cubic feet per day.
CCUS programmes are gaining traction globally as countries seek to reduce their greenhouse emissions and free up gas used in oil recovery for use in other industries and also power generation.
Currently, there are 18 large-scale carbon capture and storage facilities in operation globally and five under construction, which together can remove a total of 40 million tonnes per year of CO2, according to the Global CCS Institute. Another 23 projects are at various stage of development.