Doha, September 15 (QNA) – Shell, Qatar Petroleum, and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) have opened the world’s largest suite of laboratories to research the storage of the greenhouse gas CO2 in carbonate rock formations.
The new laboratories form part of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre (QCCSRC ) at Imperial College London, and are part of a $70-million, 10-year research partnership between Shell, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science and Technology Park and Imperial.
The laboratories represent a significant step forward in the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as a solution to climate change, by helping to build knowledge that can be used to unlock the vast CO2 storage potential of carbonate reservoirs. Researchers at the laboratory will also analyze how liquids and gases move through carbonate rock to optimize oil and gas production.
The research in the new laboratories will be the first in the world to utilize multi-scale X-Ray CT technology – more commonly used in hospitals to visualize internal structures of the body, – alongside other state-of-the-art measurement and modeling techniques, to understand the way CO2 interacts with, and flows in, carbonate rock formations. With more than 50 researchers, including PhD students from Qatar, this new venture will create one of the largest university-based CCS research teams in the world.
Currently in its fourth year of activity, QCCSRC conducts research in a range of science and engineering disciplines relevant to CCS. This involves experimental, theoretical and modeling activities working in close harmony and includes an unrivalled combination of experimentally validated models for thermo-physical fluid properties, multi-scale porous media flow and reaction experiments linked with pore/core-scale modeling and field scale reservoir simulation.
The program will operate internationally in both Qatar and the UK over the coming years with the main site ultimately located in Qatar and hosted at QSTP, which will provide state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.
Qatari Minister of Energy and Industry HE Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, who is also Chairman and Managing Director of QP, hailed the project as a great push forward for scientific research.
“This is a proud moment for Qatar. Championing this significant research is a translation of the vision of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to promote scientific research through partnerships with leading players in academia and industry. The creation of the lab is the outcome of a journey that started in 2008 and it is timely to see it bearing fruits today when climate change is coming under greater scrutiny,” he said.
For his part, Chief Executive of Shell, Peter Voser, said, “This initiative builds on the already strong partnership between Shell, Qatar and Imperial. Qatar Petroleum and Shell, together with world class experts like Imperial College and the Qatar Science and Technology Park, are working at the frontier of science and innovation for the energy sector. The research carried out in this new laboratory will deliver real benefits for the oil and gas industry as well as making a valuable contribution to progressing CCS which will be needed to address climate change.”
Meanwhile Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, QP Oil and Gas Ventures Director and chairman of the steering committee for the project, said that the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre (QCCSRC) demonstrates Qatar’s commitment as a “major resource holder to balancing energy production and the need to preserve the environment.”
“I’m glad to note that Qatari Ph.D. researchers are contributing significantly to this effort and that the majority of the research activities and equipment in this lab will later be transferred to Qatar and will be located in QP’s research center at the Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP),” Al-Kaabi said.
Geoffrey Maitland, QCCSRC Director from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial, on his part, said that the project’s partners now have the most advanced laboratories in the world for understanding carbonate rocks and the fluid flows within them, thanks to the “long-term collaboration between academia and industry.”
“A deeper understanding will enable us to improve processes such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and enhanced oil recovery. These rock formations, which are located all around the world, including the Middle East, could provide us with a valuable repository for storing CO2, but more work needs to be done to understand how to lock away these greenhouse gas emissions effectively. We look forward to working even more closely with our partners from Qatar and Shell on research to make this CCS vision a practical reality,” said Maitland.
Executive Chairman of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) Tidu Maini said that QSTP is excited to be able to provide a home in Qatar to the program that is “at the very forefront of scientific discovery in a field that provides one of the most viable means of reducing CO2 emissions and effectively responding to global climate change.”
“We are enormously proud that Qatar based research in this field will become a reality soon making Qatar a regional leader in new CCS and CO2/EOR technology,” Maini added.
Qatar Petroleum, a state-owned corporation established in 1974, is responsible for all phases of the oil and gas industry in Qatar. The principal activities of the firm, and its subsidiaries and joint ventures cover exploration, drilling and production operations, transport, storage, marketing and sale of crude oil, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas, gas-to-liquids, refined products, petrochemicals and fertilizers, and helicopter and financial services.
Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies with around 90,000 employees in more than 80 countries and territories. The company’s headquarters are in The Hague, the Netherlands, and the parent company of the Shell group is Royal Dutch Shell plc, which is incorporated in England and Wales. (END)