02/03/2020 – News / Energy / Saudi Aramco / Event / Saudi Arabia / iCCUS 2020 / CO2

GCC industry event addresses global carbon circular economy challenge

 GCC industry event to address global ca

Last month, KSA’s energy giant Saudi Aramco hosted the international Carbon Capture, Utilization & Storage conference 2020 (iCCUS 2020) in Riyadh, as the region’s industrial community explores one of the major solutions for limiting CO2 emissions.

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have reached record levels, smashing the 400-parts-per-million milestone and continuing to rise. While other greenhouse gases exist, it is carbon dioxide that plays the largest role in global warming – and it is the gas that lingers the longest in the atmosphere. There are two fundamental strategies for limiting the gas: to reduce emissions, or to remove carbon dioxide from the air. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we need to do both.


Most of the conversation has thus far centred on reducing emissions, and the discussions about carbon removal have traditionally centred on forest protection, as healthy forests, particularly rainforests, can play a significant role. However, emerging technologies can prevent carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), which involves capturing CO2 produced by large industrial plants, compressing it for transportation and then injecting it deep into a rock formation at a carefully selected and safe site, where it is permanently stored.


While it is still relatively early days for carbon capture and storage technology, the Global CCS Institute’s annual report shows that the number of facilities are increasing – there are now 19 in operations worldwide, and 51 in some stage of development. Brad Page, CEO of the Institute, said, “the climate science is very clear, and time is not on our side. We need to use all the carbon dioxide removal technologies.”


CCUS plants in the GCC region


There are three major CCUS plants in operation today in the GCC region. Saudi Aramco’s Uthmaniyah CO2-EOR facility captures 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum, and this is used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Other plants include SABIC’s CO2-to-chemicals facility in Jubail captures 500,000 tons of CO2 per year, which is utilised in the production of methanol and urea. The final major facility in production in the region is the Al Reyadah CCUS plant co-owned by ADNOC and Emirates Steel – the 800,000-ton-per-annum carbon capture capacity is used for EOR applications.


Worldwide, there are currently 19 large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in operation, with 260 million tonnes of anthropogenic CO2 having already been permanently stored globally today.


However, according to the Global CCS Institute, at least nine per cent of cumulative emissions reductions must be derived from CCS, requiring over 2,000 CCS facilities to be built by 2040 if we are to remain within a safe threshold of CO2 emission rise in the decades ahead. 


Driving CCUS tech and collaboration


In response to this urgent requirement for CCUS infrastructure build-out, the international Carbon Capture, Utilization & Storage conference was held in Riyadh last month. Saudi Arabia’s most influential event for the CCUS industry brought together CCUS professionals, Ministers, strategists, influencers and leading decision-makers, alongside companies that are shaping the future of the energy industry, for a high-level congress.


Held under the kind patronage of H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, and H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Oil – and supported by Saudi Aramco, the conference brought together world leaders to discuss the role of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage in enabling a circular economy. The event featured nearly 70 confirmed speakers and covers an array of industries – oil & gas, manufacturing, chemical, power, cement, iron & steel, food, and OEMs and services. 


“Realising fully the value of CCUS remains a global challenge: overall costs need to be reduced, global storage capacity needs to be consolidated and appropriate policy instruments need to be implemented, in order to ensure widespread deployment of CCUS technology and meet its global climate change ambitions,” advised Mr Ahmad Al Khowaiter, Chairman of iCCUS.


As the world's largest integrated oil & gas company, Saudi Aramco is uniquely qualified to drive the technology and collaboration needed to address the global emissions challenge. The energy giant’s innovative low-carbon practices and technologies already position Aramco as one of the lowest carbon emitters in our industry, and the firm has the brightest minds continuing their pioneering work in carbon capture and sequestration. 


For further useful information on carbon capture, utilisation and storage, alongside Aramco’s future position on CCUS, visit: https://www.saudiaramco.com/en/making-a-difference/planet/carbon-capture-utilization-and-storage

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