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Harnessing Carbon Dioxide in the Middle East

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The migration to ultra-mature production and concern about rising greenhouse gas emissions mean that the implementation of carbon capture and storage projects are coming into sharper focus than ever before in the Middle East.

Capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and using it in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is one strategy being widely adopted.  Studies showing the region having one of the world’s highest per capita environmental footprints have led governments to look for ways to improve their rankings in greenhouse gas emissions.

So far, Oman is the only country in the region to have launched EOR programs on a large commercial, rather than pilot, scale in a bid to stem and reverse years of declining crude production. In Abu Dhabi, tertiary gas injection has been under way for decades at the Total-operated Abu Al Bukhoosh field with great success. As production in the region matures, more countries are expected to implement EOR programs.

The application of CO2 EOR provides two advantages for companies in the Middle East. It allows natural gas that would otherwise be used for injection into oil fields for secondary recovery to be freed up to meet domestic requirements, such as power generation and industrial use, or to limit the costly import of liquefied natural gas. Moreover, it helps limit emissions in the region.

The oil and gas industry is using technology for mapping oil and gas fields to find sites suitable for CO2 storage. The most effective way to ensure permanent, safe storage is to choose sites of sufficient depth (typically deeper than 800m) with adequate capacity and an overlying sealing system to ensure containment.

Currently, there are 23 active and 53 planned carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects worldwide. They include Sleipner and Snovit in Norway, Weyburn and Zama in Canada, K12b in the Netherlands, Blue Lake in the United States, and Ketzin in Germany. In Salah in Algeria was recently suspended because of leakage. (Journal of Petroleum Technology)

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