ADNOC moving ahead with plans to expand its CO2 capture to boost oil recovery
By 2025, modifications to either the Shah ultra-sour gas plant or Habshan-Bab gas complex to enable the capture of around 2mn tons of CO2 per year
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced plans to expand the capture, storage and utilisation of carbon dioxide (CO2), produced from either the Habshan-Bab gas processing facilities or the Shah gas plant. A decision on which plant to capture the CO2 from first will be taken in 2019. The project will be engineered so as not to interrupt ongoing production from either facility.
The additional CO2 capture will reduce ADNOC’s carbon footprint – which is among the lowest in the industry – and liberate natural gas, previously used for oil field injection, for other more valuable purposes, while simultaneously addressing growing global demand for oil by boosting recovery from its maturing reservoirs.
The announcement was made at the International Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Summit, in Edinburgh, by Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, ADNOC Executive Office Director, who led ADNOC’s participation at the summit. The event was attended by global energy ministers, chief executives and senior leaders from international oil and gas companies, as well as the financial community. The discussion at the event focused on accelerating investment in CCUS technology, which has the potential to significantly support global CO2 emissions reduction, as well as unlock value across economies, including in the UAE.
The Shah plant – built and operated by a joint venture between ADNOC and Occidental Petroleum Corporation – is one of the world’s largest facilities processing ultra-sour gas. It processes about 1.3bn standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of sour gas and associated condensates, which contain over 20% hydrogen sulfide and 10% CO2. By 2025, modifications to the facility would enable the gases to be captured as part of the sulfur recovery process and converted into pure CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Using advanced CCUS technology, more than 2.3mn tons per annum (120mn scfd) of CO2 are planned to be captured and safely locked away underground.
Meanwhile, the Habshan and Bab complex could capture another 1.9mn tons per year of CO2 (100mn scfd). The complex can process up to 6.2bn scfd of associated gas, making it the largest in the UAE and one of the biggest in the Gulf.
Speaking at the summit, Omar Al Suwaidi said: “ADNOC’s experience at Al Reyadah, the only commercial CCUS facility in the region capturing CO2 from a steel plant, gives us a robust position to build on our successes and expand our CCUS capacity, where commercially viable.
“CCUS 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. 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 has drawn up an ambitious plan to capture CO2 from its own operations, using more cost-effective second- and third-generation carbon capture technologies to meet a six-fold increase in the utilisation of CO2 for EOR. ADNOC plans to capture about 5mn tons of CO2 per year (250mn scfd) before 2030.
Currently, ADNOC has the capacity at Al Reyadah to capture 800,000 tons of CO2 annually from Emirates Steel Industries (ESI). The CO2 is compressed and dehydrated before being transported through pipelines for injection into reservoirs at the Rumaitha and Bab oilfields to boost oil recovery.
In the oil industry, CCUS technology works in three stages. Carbon dioxide is first captured on site, then it is compressed and dehydrated. Finally, it is transported by pipeline for injection into oilfields, where it can be used to enhance oil recovery. Using primary and secondary (waterflood) recovery techniques, between 30% to 35% of oil is recovered on average. At ADNOC, the use of CO2, to help maintain reservoir pressure could increase end-of-life recovery to up to 70%.
ADNOC was the first National Oil Company to pilot CO2 injection for EOR in 2009. In 2016, ADNOC joined forces with Masdar, a major international player in renewable energy and sustainable urban development, to launch Al Reyadah, the first commercial-scale CCUS facility in the region. Al Reyadah is now fully owned by ADNOC – integrated into ADNOC Onshore – to optimise resources and oversee the entire CO2 value chain.