Kuwait’s Efforts on Carbon Reduction
People are now becoming more and more aware of how their actions are damaging our planet. There has been a wide spread of the mindset in Kuwait on reducing carbon emissions and we are no strangers to the sense of urgency. In 2020, Kuwait CO2 emissions reached more than 100 million tons. The main factor of emissions in Kuwait is the heavy reliance on liquid petroleum fuels in most sectors. In addition, current sources for energy production in the country relies on oil by 90% and natural gas 10%, electricity and water production plants consumes 70% of oil and its derivatives, while the remaining 30% comes from natural gas, as well as the transportation sector which relies 100% on liquid petroleum products .
In 2014, Gulf Cryo, a leading manufacturer of industrial, medical and specialty gases in the MENA region, has announced the opening of its largest Kuwait based CO2 production plant in cooperation with EQUATE Petrochemical Company . This plant represents a significant investment and commitment towards environmental protection from both companies, as it captures Equate’s CO2 emissions and convert it to clean CO2. Gulf Cryo can produce up to 280 tons per day of liquid CO2, which will reduce Kuwait’s CO2 emissions by 120,000 tons each year . The CO2 is used for many commercial uses, including atmosphere enrichment for agriculture, pH control for water treatment plants and carbonation for beverage companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and others. Furthermore, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has commissioned a study to determine the potential of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) with injecting CO2 . CO2 EOR is a type of tertiary oil recovery that allows the recovery of additional oil from these existing wells and reservoirs. This method has the potential to recover an additional 15% to 20% of the original oil. When the CO2 is injected underground for EOR, around 90% to 95% remains trapped in the reservoir which will decrease the amount of CO2 emissions .
Figure 1. CO2 recovery plant .
Despite the importance of Gulf Cryo’s work through its production of green CO2, its sales in Kuwait is equivalent to 5% of its total production. This is due to the hydrocarbon products provided by the oil sector at subsidized prices. Plants in Kuwait mostly rely on burning subsidized kerosene to produce CO2. Burning these products is a waste of one of Kuwait’s resources, energy and will increase the amount of emissions produced. Kuwait can save up to 50 thousand tons of kerosene annually for the petroleum corporation to benefit from either by selling it through local gas stations or by exporting it at multiple times the subsidized price. However, this matter did not attract local companies as Gulf Cryo’s customers are mainly international companies as they encourage environmental friendly solutions and reducing their emission level.
However, Kuwait’s effort towards carbon reduction are shown through other projects including the clean fuels project and the Al-Zour refinery project which is part of Kuwait’s National Development Plan. The clean fuels project will have a huge environmental impact as it will lead to great reduction in local emissions of SOx, NOx and other pollutants. For example, the sulfur content in motor gasoline will be reduced from 500 ppm to 10 ppm, and in diesel from 5,000 ppm to 10 ppm . Furthermore, Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) a new subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) set up by Kuwait for operating and managing refining, liquefied natural gas import operations and petrochemicals in the Al-Zour refinery. The refinery will produce low sulphur fuel oil that will replace the high sulphur fuel oil used in local power plants, significantly reducing SOx emissions produced from the power stations by 75% from current levels. The refinery will also produce low sulfur diesel fuel, jet fuel and kerosene for export to global markets, and naphtha feedstock for local petrochemical plants .
Climate change is a global environmental issue at the top of the international agenda. Researchers in Kuwait have concluded that current trends of activity in the region can cause an increase of 1.6 °C in climate regionally by 2035 if no mitigation occurs. However, Kuwait is committed on reducing its carbon footprint by promoting clean energy and introducing new low carbon technologies and projects. Therefore, Kuwait should encourage companies that provide sustainable and environmental friendly solutions. In addition, Kuwait should stop subsidizing hydrocarbon products in case of misuse and proceed an act towards these actions, close burning units and switch to using the ecological product available in Kuwait. The Environment Public Authority has determined by January 2022 the gas flaring rates, whether for natural or associated gas, are set at 5% of the total daily production . This law will permit burning natural gas for unnecessary use.
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