Saudi Aramco is poised to embark on a sizeable carbon capture and storage (CCS) programme, eyeing significant emissions reduction from some of the largest onshore gas plants in the country.
Two people familiar with the development — dubbed the accelerated carbon capture and storage (ACCS) project — told Upstream that the tender process for the programme’s first phase could be launched as early as next month.
“We are hoping that the bid process for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work for ACCS phase one is likely to start in February,” one person noted.
The first phase of the ACCS project envisages capturing about 9 million tonnes per annum of CO2 from Aramco’s Wasit, Fadhili and Khursaniyah gas plants, another one suggested.
In the longer term, Aramco’s target is ambitious, and up to 60 million tpa of CO2 capture is being targeted through multiple development phases worth billions of dollars, project watchers said.
However, there is no clarity yet on the timeframe for executing these multiple phases of the ACCS project, sources said.
The different execution phases of the ACCS project are a key element in significantly reducing emissions from the operator's upstream operations in the long term.
The EPC packages for ACCS phase one project could be potentially worth $700 million to $800 million, a person close to the bid process said.
International players Linde and WesternGeco are believed to be partnering with Aramco in the CCS project, Upstream learns.
Saudi Aramco declined to comment to Upstream on the upcoming ACCS development and its potential in lowering emissions.
Middle East giants are increasingly scaling up their spending on CCS and other decarbonisation projects, with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), recently committing to a $15 billion investment for lowering its carbon footprint.
Aramco earlier unveiled its ambition to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2050 across its wholly owned operated assets.
However, despite its ambitious target to reduce emissions, Aramco is also embarking on the expansion of its oil production capacity to 13 million barrels per day by 2027, up from the existing 12 million bpd capacity.
Phase one of the ACCS project is likely to involve EPC works on compression, injection and onshore pipelines, project watchers said.
Multiple packages could be on offer to contracting players for the project’s execution.
Some of the key international players said to be eyeing the EPC packages include South Korea’s Samsung Engineering, Hyundai E&C and Daelim Industrial, Japan’s JGC, India’s Larsen & Toubro, Italy’s Saipem and Taiwan’s CTCI, Upstream learns.
More clarity on the likely bidders is expected to emerge in the coming weeks, once the bid process gathers momentum.
Aramco also aims to achieve 12 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity by 2035 and produce 11 million tpa of blue ammonia by 2030 as part of its drive for net-zero emissions by 2050.
Chief executive Amin Nasser last year said the company is steadily continuing to add new, lower-carbon energy to its portfolio, including blue hydrogen and blue ammonia, renewables and electrofuels.
“At the same time, we are working to lower our upstream carbon intensity, our gas flaring and our methane intensity, which are already among the lowest in the world,” he noted.
By 2035, Aramco aims to reduce its upstream carbon intensity by 15% to 8.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per barrel of oil equivalent (CO2e per boe) against a 2018 baseline of 10.2 kilograms of CO2e per boe.
Aramco aims to reduce or mitigate its net greenhouse emissions across its assets by more than 50 million tpa of CO2e by 2035.
The state-owned player also aims to capture, utilise or store 11 million tpa CO2e by 2035.
While Aramco is speeding up its own low-carbon efforts, Nasser earlier said that global energy transition plans have been “undermined by unrealistic scenarios and flawed assumptions because they have been mistakenly perceived as facts”.
* This article was amended on 24 January to include Saudi Aramco’s response to Upstream’s request for comment.
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