Adnoc kicks off drilling operation to turn carbon dioxide into rock

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has initiated a drilling campaign at Fujairah for a project that plans to turn captured carbon dioxide into rock.

Adnoc confirmed in a social media post that drilling has commenced for the pilot project, which is seen as an enabler of energy transition plans that propose abatement of emissions from fossil fuels on a huge scale.

Adnoc said earlier this year said that it has partnered with compatriots Fujairah Natural Resources Corporation, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and Oman-based technology company 44.01 on the innovative project.

Award-winning solution

The emirati state giant said the project envisages taking CO2 from the atmosphere, mixing it with seawater, and further injecting it into peridotite rock formations underground.

“Under the right conditions, peridotite reacts with CO2 mixed with rain or seawater to safely and permanently mineralise it,” the company noted.

The technology was pioneered by 44.01, the winner of a Prince of Wales Earthshot prize last year. The company, which is named after the molecular weight of CO2, stores the greenhouse gas within peridotite, a rock found in abundance in Oman as well as in America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.

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Stressing the green credentials of this pilot phase, the company said that in the coming weeks it “will deploy a direct air capture unit to extract the CO2 from the atmosphere and install solar panels to power the entire operation.”

“It will be the first carbon-negative project of its kind in the region,” it stated.

Decarbonisation plans

Following the pilot programme Adnoc said the technology is expected to contribute towards its plans to increase the company’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) capacity to 5 million tonnes per year by 2030.

Adnoc has promised investments of $15 billion for projects that will reduce Adnoc’s carbon footprint across operations.

The investments would be executed through “an array of projects across its diversified value chain by 2030”, the company said.

Large Middle East oil and gas companies are spending billions of dollars to scale up their hydrocarbon production capacities, but are also promising to invest heavily in energy-transition initiatives, mainly led by CCS and hydrogen projects involving mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

So far, however, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has not included such technologies in its recommended pathway to meeting the Paris climate goals.

Adnoc said it will announce “a suite of new projects and initiatives” throughout 2023, “including a first-of-its-kind CCS project, innovative carbon removal technologies, investment in new, cleaner-energy solutions and strengthening of international partnerships”.

Last year Adnoc set up a new business — Low Carbon Solutions & International Growth — in line with its ambition to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2050.