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Adnoc and Occidental look into UAE direct air capture

Vicki Hollub, president of Occidental, speaking at Adipec 2023 Reuters
Vicki Hollub, Occidental president, said the rapid progress of the agreement 'underscores the urgency needed to deliver global-scale climate solutions and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions'
  • Venture would be first facility outside US
  • Adnoc doubles carbon capture target 
  • $615m contract for Habshan CCUS project

Adnoc and US petroleum giant Occidental are investigating the feasibility of building a direct air capture facility in the UAE.

It would be the first such site outside the US, the companies said. 

The preliminary engineering study is the latest project under an agreement signed by the companies earlier this year to explore carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) in the UAE and US.

CCUS is emerging as a popular solution for decarbonising the hydrocarbons industry. Adnoc, Abu Dhabi’s state oil company, is making significant investments to expand its activities in this area. 

Direct air capture technologies extract carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere at any location. This differentiates it from carbon capture, which is typically carried out at the point of emissions, such as a steel or oil plant, according to the International Energy Agency. 

The CO2 can be permanently stored in dedicated formations, or used for other purposes, as with CCUS. However, direct air is said to be the most expensive form of carbon capture. 

AGBI reported in August on the US Department of Energy’s $1.2 billion  investment in two direct air capture projects in the US and on the beginnings of the tie-up between Adnoc and Occidental.

The study announced today will assess the feasibility of a a direct air capture facility to capture 1 million tonnes per year.

It would be connected to Adnoc’s permanent carbon storage infrastructure of CO2 injections into saline reservoirs in Abu Dhabi not used for oil and gas, which are currently in the testing phase.  

Also this week, Adnoc subsidiary Adnoc Gas awarded a $615 million contract to Petrofac Emirates to build a network of wells for CO2 injection at the Habshan gas processing plant. The Habshan CCUS project is intended to capture and store 1.5 million tonnes per annum of CO2 in subterranean rock below the site.

The projects are all part of Adnoc’s revised plans announced on Sunday to capture 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually by 2030, doubled from a previous target of 5 million tonnes.