As global oil consumption crosses the 100-million-barrels-per-day mark, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is reinforcing its leadership role and commitment to environmental stewardship, as it strengthens its position as one of the oil and gas industry’s lowest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG).
While addressing rising global energy demand, ADNOC is investing in new measures to reduce its environmental footprint. It plans to further reduce GHG emissions by up to 10 percent by 2023, substantially increase its use of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technology, reduce its use of potable water and cut the volume of waste sent to landfill sites.
A regional leader in flare reduction, ADNOC is increasingly taking advantage of advanced technologies, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to drive operational efficiencies and enhance performance, which, in turn, will further limit the impact of its operations on the environment.
According to the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) Environmental Performance Report for 2017, ADNOC ranked in the top five lowest GHG emitters, with less than half the industry average, at 39.68 million tCO2e, and has one of the lowest methane intensities of 0.01 percent.
At the same time, ADNOC has reduced the volume of natural gas flared by more than 72 percent since 1995.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, said: "ADNOC’s commitment to environmental stewardship has been a cornerstone of our operations since the company was founded in 1971. It reflects the foresight and vision of the Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who understood the importance of sustainability and protecting the country’s natural ecosystems.
The principles behind Sheikh Zayed’s environmental legacy guide us today and will continue to do so in the future.
"For decades to come, the world will depend on hydrocarbons to meet its growing energy, refined product and petrochemical needs. As part of ADNOC’s Oil & Gas 4.0 strategy, we are at the forefront of utilising innovative and advanced technology that well not only help us meet future energy demand but also ensure our operations are sustainable and have minimal environmental impacts.
"As a responsible supplier of energy, embedding environmental protection in our corporate culture ensures we are proactive in preserving the environment from which we draw the energy the world needs," Dr. Al Jaber added.
ADNOC’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its operations begins before the first well is drilled. Baseline Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) surveys are carried out before new work begins, and environmental monitoring is undertaken throughout construction – and during operations – to ensure there are no unanticipated impacts on ecosystems.
This is supplemented with continuous environmental monitoring – from the development and active phases of projects through to decommissioning.
A prime example of ADNOC’s holistic approach to environmental protection is the pre-production work being conducted around its Hail, Ghasha and Dalma mega-sour gas development, which, when it comes online, will make a significant contribution to ADNOC’s commitment to enable the UAE to become gas self-sufficient with the potential to become a net gas exporter.
To ensure the Hail, Ghasha and Dalma project is minimising its environmental footprint, ADNOC has conducted one of the largest marine environmental baseline surveys in the UAE’s history.
It has enabled ADNOC to carefully locate the project’s 11 artificial islands and optimise well numbers and trajectories to reduce environmental impact and ensure that both islands and drilling activities are placed outside sensitive areas.
At the other end of the oil production spectrum, ADNOC is planning to expand the capture of CO2 from its operations for use in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Starting in 2021, ADNOC will gradually increase the utilisation of CO2, reaching 2.3 million tons per annum by 2025, by capturing additional CO2 from its gas processing plants and injecting it into different onshore oil fields. ADNOC’s Al Reyadah facility is already capable of capturing 800,000 tons of CO2 annually.
The increased use of CCUS technology for EOR will have a double environmental benefit. Replacing gas with CO2 injection into ADNOC’s maturing fields will allow the more productive use of valuable, cleaner-burning, lower emissions natural gas, whether for power generation, desalination or as petrochemicals’ feedstock.
At the same time, it will safely lock away significant amounts of CO2 that would otherwise have been absorbed into the atmosphere.
As ADNOC continues to drive its environmental performance and reduce the impact of its operations on the environment, it plans to invest a further U.S. $1.8 billion, by 2023, in abatement projects in flaring and unintended emissions, energy efficiency and CCUS. This follows investment of U.S. $2.3 billion from 2012 to 2017 in these areas.
Key environmental projects that ADNOC undertakes include: - Increasing energy efficiency by up to 10 percent by 2020, reducing its gas consumption by more than 150 million cubic feet per day and saving up to U.S. $1 billion; - In 2017, ADNOC was the first major oil and gas company to be awarded ISO 50001 certification, which recognises the implementation of energy management systems to increase energy efficiencies; - Exploring the use of advanced algorithms, predictive analytics, big data and AI to analyse huge volumes of data to enhance environmental performance and management practices; - Producing zero sulfur content bunker fuels by 2020; - Installing low NOx burners in gas turbines, and installing solar panels at wellhead control panels; - Avoiding the withdrawal of water from deep aquifers by using produced water for re-injection into oil reservoirs; - Replacing inefficient diesel generators in drilling rigs to meet stringent air emission limits and reduce GHG emissions; - Planting 250,000 mangrove seedlings in Al Dhabbia from 2012 to 2016. Mangroves have enormous capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, trapping them in flooded soils; and - Deploying 293 artificial coral reef structures around Zirku Island.