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Shell: Redeeming the reputation of CO2

Kuwait: Tuesday, May 15 - 2007 @ 09:41

From Threat to Valuable Resource – an interview with Jan Arco de Reus, Business Development Manager for CO2, Middle East, Caspian and South Asia Shell EP International Ltd.

Mr. de Reus’s paper will be speaking on ‘Carbon Capture from Industrial Emission Sources for use in CO2 Miscible Flood Applications in the Middle East ‘.

Reducing emissions by capturing CO2 from industrial sources and creating value by using it for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) purposes can provide a possible bridge towards a lower carbon emissions future whilst maximizing hydrocarbon recovery. If there is one area in the world where carbon capture linked to EOR has the potential to be optimised and implemented on a large scale, it is likely to be the Middle East, and in particular the Gulf Region.

“Carbon dioxide is a perfect non-toxic substance for injection into mature oil fields. Given the right reservoir conditions, CO2 can act as a solvent, washing the reservoir rock formation to remove the remaining oil. It mixes with the oil in the reservoir, thereby swelling its volume and increasing its mobility, which enables more oil to flow to the producing well heads,” explains Jan Arco de Reus, Shell Exploration & Production’s Business Opportunity Manager for CO2 EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery), for the Middle East.

“Shell pioneered the development of CO2 EOR in the late 1970s in Texas in the United States, after learning that water flooding at its West Texas fields would remove less than half the original oil in place. The project for the use of CO2 in the oil fields of the Permian Basin, which at the time required implementation of a bold plan, had the full support of the government of the day, which passed legislation to endorse this unusual project.

“The success of the project depended on the simultaneous accomplishment of three separate objectives. The first of these was the acquisition and development of a massive 10 trillion cubic feet natural gas field at McElmo Dome in Southwest Colorado, which contained 98 per cent CO2, but was unfortunately situated a long distance away from the Permian Basin.
“The second objective, which cost in excess of US $1.2 billion, was the construction of an 800-kilometre 30-inch dedicated CO2 pipeline from Colorado to the Permian Basin, capable of transporting over one billion standard cubic feet of CO2 per day.

“The third was the preparation of the company’s oil-producing fields in the Permian Basin in need of CO2 flooding, which would ultimately extend the productive life of the fields by about 30 years.

“In the Middle East there are no such large natural CO2 fields that we know of, and so the capture of industrial CO2 emissions has been identified as one major source of CO2, along with CO2 emissions from existing oil and gas operations.

“Interaction with regional stakeholders has shown that there is a high level of interest in the implementation of CO2 capture and sequestration projects, not only for potential use in EOR and other applications in the oil and gas industry, such as providing energy to reservoirs, but also due to increasing global concerns over greenhouse gas emissions.
“Due to their size and cost, CO2 projects will need the participation of many players, particularly the major regional decision-makers, and the political will of regional governments to make this vision a reality.

“As a first step in implementing projects to capture CO2, Shell has aligned itself with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries [MHI], the world’s leading provider of technology for CO2 capture from flue gases emitted from power plants. In December 2005 Shell signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MHI to establish a strategic alliance to co-operate on business opportunities relating to CO2 capture and recovery in the Middle East.

“MHI has, over the last 15 years, developed proprietary technology for lowest cost CO2 capture from the gases from power plants. Shell is looking at CO2 capture from both the country and regional perspectives whereby we aim to contribute to an integrated solution to maximise value for the countries with which we enjoy good relationships and long-term partnerships in the Middle East.

“The process will be to capture CO2 from flue gases, compress it and then transport it through a pipeline to be injected into suitable oil reservoirs to enhance oil recovery. The CO2 will then be collected, along with the produced oil from which it will be separated, to be recycled back into the reservoir. The idea is that these projects will lead to a significantly higher recovery of the oil originally in place, as well as, ultimately, the permanent storage of CO2 in the geological formations.

“Shell is in the process of initiating CCS [Carbon, Capture and Sequestration] feasibility studies in various countries in the region. Once these have been completed and demonstrated to be both technically and commercially viable, we hope to move rapidly into the project development phase.

“The long-term goal is to have an integrated regional CO2 network of pipelines to link countries with a CO2 surplus to those with a CO2 deficit,” Jan concludes.

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Tuesday, May 15- 2007 @ 9:41 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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