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 analyse how liquids and gases move through carbonate rock to optimise oil and gas production.
The research in the new laboratories will be the first in the world to utilise multi-scale X-Ray CT technology - more commonly used in hospitals to visualise internal structures of the body, alongside other state-of-the-art measurement and modelling 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 modelling 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 modelling and field scale reservoir simulation. The programme 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.
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman & Managing Director of QP, said: “This is a proud moment for Qatar. Championing this significant research is a translation of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, 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.”
Peter Voser, Chief Executive of Shell 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.”
Mr. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Director Oil & Gas Ventures of QP and chairman of the steering committee for this joint project, said: “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 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 centre at the Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP). ”
Professor Geoffrey Maitland, Director of QCCSRC from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial, said,, “Thanks to this long-term collaboration between academia and industry we now have the most advanced laboratories in the world for understanding carbonate rocks and the fluid flows within them.
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.”
Dr Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) said:
“QSTP is excited to be able to provide a home in Qatar to a programme 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.”