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The role of CO2 capture and storage in Saudi Arabia’s energy future

Abstract

This paper aims to investigate for the first time the role of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) in shaping the future energy policy for Saudi Arabia. It begins with a broad analysis ofthe strategic context for CCS. Itthen reviews CCS developmentin Saudi Arabia, including CCS research activities, sources of CO2 emissions, and the potential for CO2 storage. Finally, it explores the stakeholder attitudes toward the role of CCS in Saudi Arabia, through a survey targeting oil and gas professionals mainly working in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. There is a widespread agreement by the stakeholders surveyed that CCS is one of the priorities for managing carbon emissions, and it holds the potential as a “gamechanger” in Saudi Arabia. Stakeholders believe that “high capital costs” and “technical uncertainty” are primary barriers to CCS demonstration, and they generally do not regard the risks of CCS as particularly significant. Most of the stakeholders agree that the first large scale CCS demonstration project should be supported by Saudi Government subsidy, and that this is the most appropriate incentive for CCS demonstration in Saudi Arabia. There is substantial support for providing the same level of incentive for CCS as for renewables. There is also a common agreement that power generation, oil refining, and gas processing are the most suitable sectors in Saudi Arabia for capturing CO2. Most of the stakeholders favor post-combustion capture technology, and are consistently more enthusiastic about combining CCS with enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

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