The MENA region has the potential to become one of the world leaders in the emerging industry of carbon, capture & storage.

With rapidly growing power demand, limited gas supply and some of the world’s highest CO2emissions, there has never been a better time for the investigation of how the region can seize the initiative on the deployment of CCS.

With three of the world’s leading projects already in the region, MENA is on a pathway to capturing both the expertise and knowledge to make a significant contribution to the world’s battle against climate change.


The world is now accelerating its drive to combat climate change and is focusing on the power sector – the source of 40% of man-made CO2 emissions.

Installed generating capacity today is approximately 4000GW with nearly 20,000TWh annual output, worth trillions of dollars of revenue globally. This is projected to almost double by 2030 and taking replacement plant into account this means that two thirds of the plants required by then are still to be built.  Assuming a nominal plant size of 1000MW this equates to more than 5,000 new build plants by 2030.  As far out as 2050, fossil fuels are expected provide up to 50% of the world’s power sector demand, making a means to decarbonise the fuel to those plants, and reduce the power sector’s emissions of CO2, compelling.

Reductions in global emissions of CO2 must be achieved in the context of rising demand for energy. This rising demand for energy is expected (under business as usual scenarios) to result in increased use of fossil fuels, the main current source of man-made CO2 emissions.  Fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) currently supply over 85% of the world’s commercial energy, with consumption expected to continue to grow. It is now widely recognized that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has a central role to play in emissions reduction because it can help reconcile the continued use of fossil fuels with the need to reduce emissions – CCS can reduce the emissions of a fossil fuel power plant by approximately 90%. Numerous studies now, including those by the EPRI, MIT, Princeton and others, have stressed the major role CCS has to play in meeting targets for CO2 emissions reduction.

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) studied a number of global GHG emission reduction scenarios and concluded that CCS is “the most important single new technology for CO2 savings” in both power generation and industry, and needed to contribute around 20% of total CO2 mitigation effort by 2050.

Source: IEA, Energy Technology Perspectives (2008)

  • Worldwide there are several operational commercial scale projects, along with numerous research-scale projects demonstrating specific components of the technology chain, with over 200 planned research and commercial scale projects around the world. These efforts have successfully demonstrated CCS and shown it to be a technically feasible mitigation technology. (GCCSI information here on number of current projects)

For more information on projects around the world, see following website:


There are three main ways that carbon capture and storage can be used in MENA:

  • Using natural gas as a feedstock, power plants can be fitted with special technology that enables them to split the CO2stream from the natural gas prior to combustion. The CO2is transported to underground oil & gas reservoirs for permanent storage and the remaining fuel stream (now hydrogen), is combusted to create very clean, low carbonpower for the region. This process is generally called pre-combustion technology and HPAD, Abu Dhabi is a good example.
  • CO2can also be capured from gas processing facilities to ensure the gas stream is low in CO2. The CO2is then returned to the same reservoir from which it was drawn. Salah in Algeria is an example of this process.
  • The other way CCS can be used is by capturing COfrom the waste streams of industrial facilities. For example, CO2 is a bi-product from most major manufacturing facilities,. This CO2 can be captured through a process called ‘scrubbing’ or post combustion capture. The CO2 can then be transported for permanent storage in underground reservoirs.  Masdar is developing a carbon capture network in Abu Dhabi to reduce emissions from an aluminium smelter (EMAL), a steel works (TapCo) and a power station (Taweelah).

Top Five Reasons for MENA to pursue CCS

All of these processes cost money and therefore make the products, whether electricity or aluminium more expensive, so why would MENA pursue CCS?

  • The region has a very high carbon footprint. All countries are developing ways to reduce that carbon footprint and to contribute to the fight against climate change. By using CCS, emissions that were previously just released into the atmosphere are now responsibly captured and disposed of.
  • The cost of abating CO2using CCS is equivalent to or the costs of many renewable alternatives, such as onshore wind, and is far cheaper than solar PV.
  • While most countries in the region are gas rich, many countries have sour gas which makes it difficult to utilise and expensive to recover. Further, the clean gas that exists is most often used to maintain oilfield pressure to force out recoverable liquid fuels so is unrecoverable. Coupled with these upstream issues the region has seen a huge spike in gas demand as the region has blossomed through the last 10 years of growth. The result has been a rather unique problem where such gas rich states are effectively unable to produce enough clean gas for domestic power generation, in effect a gas shortage. CO2has been proven to be a very effective alternative to natural gas for maintaining oil field pressure and infact recovering more oil. By changing to CO2in upstream operations, the region will:
    1. Reduce it’s carbon footprint;
    2. Release clean natural gas reserves;
    3. More efficiently produce it’s abundant liquid resources and infact increase that production by up to 15% in some cases.
  • MENA is so well suited to CCS. There are a range of factors that drive the success of CCS projects and many countries in the MENA region have them all.
    1. Sources close to sinks – for CCS to be cost effective it is important that a storage reservoir is in proximity to where the CO2 is created to avoid transportation costs. May countries in the MENA region have large sinks onshore or in proximity off-shore.
    2. Feedstocks – this is particularly relevant for the pre-combustion option that utilises fossil fuel feedstocks. Access to natural gas or solid fuels is an important part of producing low carbon electricity from de-carbonised fossil fuel feedstocks. Currently natural gas is the predominant feedstock in MENA but many countries are looking to the importation of coal to meet domestic power demand. CCS is a good way for those countries to responsibly manage emissions for emission heavy coal fired power generation
    3. Revenue Streams – to make projects economic, there needs to be a cost to CO2. Here in MENA, because of the desire to use CO2 for Enhanced Oil recovery such a revenue stream exists making CO2projects more economic here than in most parts of the work.
    4. Power demand– Heavily subsidised electricity in the region and increased economic wealth has soon a huge increase in power demand in the region. Power demand drives increased emissions, which drives governments looking for solutions to responsibly manage these emissions or low carbon alternatives. CCS can go a long way to solving these issues for regional governments.

Finally, it is possible that capital investments made in capturing CO2 may be rewarded if CCS is considered an eligible technology under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

Watch the Masdar Video about the Clean Development Mechanism: CDM Video

CCS Technology

CCS is a technology to prevent large quantities of carbon dioxide or CO2 (a greenhouse gas) from being released into the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuel in power generation and other industries. The technology involves:

  • collecting or capturing the CO2 produced at large industrial plants using fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas);
  • transportation to a suitable storage site; and finally,
  • pumping it deep underground to be securely and permanently stored away from the atmosphere in rock.

Click on the picture to see all details:

The Climate Change Challenge

Long-term monitoring has shown that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing due to human activity. This is causing the earth to warm and the oceans to become more acidic.

The Global CCS Institute clearly describes the climate change challenge. Click on the picture to see all details:

How CCS Works

CCS involves capturing the CO2 produced at large industrial plants from the burning of fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas), transporting it to a suitable storage site and pumping it deep underground.

The Global CCS Institute clearly describes how CCS works. Click on the picture to see all details:


Currently within the MENA landscape there are three main countries that are driving CCS forward: the United Arab EmiratesAlgeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the first OPEC member and Gulf state to officially associate itself with the Copenhagen Accord, at the UNFCCC talks in December 2009.

As such, the UAE is working on a post-oil economic diversification strategy that includes world leadership in renewable energy production.

Abu Dhabi

Masdar CO2 Network

Masdar is developing a multi-billion-dollar national carbon capture network capable of creating a significant reduction in Abu Dhabi’s carbon footprint. The first phase of the network, one of the world’s first commercial-scale CCS projects, will sequester around 6.5 million tons of CO2 from power plants and industrial facilities in Abu Dhabi by 2013. The captured CO2 will be transported and injected into oil reservoirs for enhanced oil recovery.

  • CO2 capture from industry (Power plant, Aluminium smelter, Steel plant)
  • 300 kilometre CO2 pipeline network
  • Injection into oil reservoirs for EOR

Watch the Masdar CCS Video


Algeria signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2005. The In Salah Gas Partnership has submitted a proposed approach for including carbon dioxide capture and geological storage (CCS) technologies in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

BP’s CCS joint venture with Sonatrach & Statoil in Algeria has stored more than three million tonnes of COsince 2004. The project includes extensive monitoring to prove the efficacy of storage at scale.

Salah Video


In Salah Gas is a joint venture between BP, Sonatrach and Statoil to produce Algerian gas under the Sahara Desert and supply it to the European market. One component of this project is the separation of CO2 from the gas (which contains around 3-10% CO2), to meet the sales gas export specifications. Rather than vent that separated CO2 to atmosphere (as is normal industry practice for such gas plants), BP and Sonatrach invested an incremental $100 million in the project to compress, dehydrate, transport and inject that CO2 into a deep saline formation down-dip of the producing gas horizon at the Krechba field. The investors derive no commercial benefit from the CO2 storage at In Salah, so it is being used as an experiment – to learn about CO2 geological storage in deep saline formations. The third partner, Statoil, joined the JV at production start-up in August 2004.

The Krechba injection formation is a 20-metres thick Carboniferous sandstone 1,950 metres below ground with 12% porosity and 10 millidarcy permeability, which is very similar to potential deep saline CO2 storage formations in many parts of the world. Three horizontal wells were drilled to inject the CO2: sub-surface CO2 migration within the Carboniferous formation is expected to follow the preferred injection-level fracture orientation (NW-SE).

A Joint Industry Project (JIP) was set up to monitor the CO2 storage using a variety of techniques, including satellite tracking, over an initial five-year period. The JIP is financed by BP, Sonatrach and Statoil with government co-funding from the US Department of Energy and the EU DG Research. Information about the JIP is publicly available at

Lessons learned from In Salah

  • CO2 storage has been successfully demonstrated for four years.
  • Longer-term storage assurance continues to be guided by a comprehensive, cost-effective and fit-for-purpose storage monitoring programme.
  • CO2 plume development is far from homogeneous and requires high resolution reservoir characterisation and modelling.
  • Satellite InSAR data has proven highly valuable to monitor subtle (mm-scale) surface deformation related to subsurface pressure changes caused by injection and production.
  • Advanced wire-line logging and LWD methods together with geochemical and core analysis have proven to be essential in reconstructing a realistic picture of the subsurface.

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of four countries that signed up to the “Four Kingdoms” initiative, which aims to explore the environmental viability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The Four Kingdoms initiative is a collaboration between KSA, UK, Norway and Holland to develop CCS and the KSA CCS Roadmap.

In October 2009, Saudi Arabia announced plans for carbon capture & storage CCS Enhanced Oil Recovery in Ghawar, the world’s largest oilfield.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strong proponent of including carbon dioxide capture and geological storage (CCS) technologies in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

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