Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is set to launch two sizeable carbon capture projects at existing gas plants in Abu Dhabi and plans to use the captured greenhouse gas as part of an enhanced oil recovery project, multiple people familiar with the development told Upstream.

The two projects form part of Adnoc’s wider ambition to ramp up its carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) capability to 5 million tonnes per annum by the end of the decade.

Adnoc is preparing to launch new carbon capture projects at the Habshan-Bab and Shah gas plants later this year, with the two projects expected to recover almost 4.2 million tpa of carbon dioxide for injection into existing oilfields for enhanced recovery, Upstream understands.

One source said that the tender process for the CO2 recovery project involving the Habshan 5 gas plant is expected to be launched soon, with its capital expenditure said to be upwards of $500 million.

The workscope is likely to include a CO2 recovery unit, a CO2 primary compression facility, a triethylene glycol dehydration unit, enhancement of existing tail gas treatment units and other associated facilities, project watchers said.

A third source said that while CO2 recovery tops Adnoc’s sustainability agenda, the operator is also aiming to reduce capital costs associated with such projects.

“The costs [for CO2 recovery] are high and Adnoc wants to bring them down to more realistic levels,” he said.

Shah gas

In addition to Habshan, Adnoc is also expected to implement a CO2 recovery project at its huge Shah gas plant, project watchers said.

The operator had earlier initiated a pre-qualification exercise aimed at shortlisting potential bidders for work on the surface facilities required for the Shah Gas CO2 recovery project, but a formal tender is yet to be firmed up, Upstream understands.

Adnoc Sour Gas operates the giant Shah gas processing plant that receives and processes fluids from the nearby Shah Arab sour gas field.

The gas plant has a nameplate capacity of 1.26 billion cubic feet per day and accounts for Adnoc Sour Gas’ entire gas output.

The project aims to capture CO2 and dehydrate, compress and export it via a new pipeline to the Bab oilfield for reinjection to enhance oil recovery at the onshore field.

While the Habshan CO2 recovery project is expected to be prioritised, the Shah Gas job is likely to follow later, sources said.

The Shah gas plant is located in the Liwa area, about 200 kilometres southwest of Abu Dhabi.

Transition pressure

As the energy transition gains momentum globally, Middle Eastern oil and gas players are trying to respond to growing pressure from investors and campaigners to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and come up with pathways towards net-zero goals.

Adnoc continues to increase its drilling activity and to pursue plans to expand Abu Dhabi’s oil production capacity to 5 million barrels per day by end of this decade, and is yet to commit to a long-term net-zero goal.

However, the wider United Arab Emirates federation, of which Abu Dhabi forms part, has revealed a long-term plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Adnoc, while stopping short of unveiling net-zero target, has set out decarbonisation plans initially aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.

Reyadah facility

Adnoc already operates Al Reyadah — the first commercial-scale CCUS facility in the Middle East.

The project was launched as a joint venture between Adnoc and Masdar in 2016 and is critical to achieving the company’s 2030 sustainability goals.

Each year, the facility captures up to 800,000 tonnes of CO2 from Emirates Steel Industries.

It is further compressed, dehydrated and transported through a 43-kilometre pipeline before being injected into the Rumaitha and Bab onshore oilfields to boost oil recovery.

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