Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has completed drilling on what it claims is the world’s first fully sequestered carbon dioxide injection well, stepping up its investments in low-carbon projects in line with its $15 billion decarbonisation plan.

The Middle East state giant confirmed the development on Thursday in a social media post and noted that it is “now moving ahead to prepare the well’s operational phase”, which will deposit CO2 captured from ammonia producer Fertiglobe’s United Arab Emirates operations “safely and permanently underground”.

“This project is just one of the many under way that are accelerating the decarbonisation of Adnoc’s operations and the supply of low-carbon products to global customers,” Adnoc stated.

The company had earlier announced the CO2 injection project in January, Upstream reported.

The company last year set up a new business, Low Carbon Solutions & International Growth, aiming to help achieve net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2050.

Middle East oil and gas producers such as Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia have promised to invest billions of dollars in decarbonising oil production while simultaneously increasing overall output capacity.

COP28 chief

Adnoc chief executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber was earlier named president-designate of the upcoming COP28 conference in Abu Dhabi and is spearheading the company’s efforts to decarbonise the state giant’s operations.

Climate activists have seized on Al Jaber’s COP28 role to support their accusations about the influence of oil companies in the global economy.

Critics see Al Jaber as a champion of fossil fuels and last month a group of 130 US and European Union lawmakers issued a statement opposing his appointment as the summit’s president.

However, Adnoc is keen to fast-track low-carbon projects and scale down its carbon footprint in the coming years.

The company also “aims to showcase to the world that it is serious about strategic investments in CO2 recovery projects, aimed at lowering emissions from its gas plants”, one source earlier told Upstream.

Al Jaber has pledged that the United Arab Emirates will host a “COP of action” and said he wants to see a tripling of renewable energy generation by 2030 and a doubling of “low carbon” hydrogen production.

Multiple low-carbon projects

Adnoc has unveiled a $15 billion investment plan as it steps up its drive to decarbonise its operations.

The investments would be executed through “an array of projects across its diversified value chain by 2030”, the company said.

Adnoc said it will announce “a suite of new projects and initiatives” throughout 2023, “including a first-of-its-kind carbon capture and storage [CCS] project, innovative carbon removal technologies, investment in new, cleaner-energy solutions and strengthening of international partnerships”.

CCS plans

Adnoc earlier noted that the CO2 injection project will support the company’s CCS programme, which is part of the suite of new initiatives forming part of its fast-track low-carbon growth strategy.

“Once operational, the project will initially fully sequester a minimum of 18,000 tonnes per annum of CO2 captured from Fertiglobe’s UAE operations for injection in Abu Dhabi’s onshore carbonate aquifers,” Adnoc stated.

It added that the CO2 injection well project builds on the company’s experience with its carbon capture facility at Al Reyadah, which has the capacity to capture up to 800,000 tpa of CO2.

“The well location for CO2 injection, as well as targeted geological formations, was identified using the results of Adnoc’s extensive 3D seismic survey and the company’s state-of-the-art subsurface modelling capacity,” the company had claimed.

Low-carbon ammonia

The recent CO2 injection project “will contribute to the production of lower-carbon ammonia, an effective and cost-competitive hydrogen carrier that can be scaled up quickly and has lower-carbon intensity than other fuels”, Adnoc said.

Adnoc envisages expanding its carbon capture activities to capture 5 million tpa by 2030.

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