Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) is to issue a tender imminently for the front-end engineering and design (Feed) contract on its multi-billion-dollar carbon-capture and storage programme.

According to sources close to the project, the client has drawn up a shortlist of selected international consultants for the contract. Under the proposed schedule, an award on the deal is expected to be made by July.

The fast-track Feed element is expected to take about 10 months, after which tenders will be issued for the four main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages.

Three sites are understood to have been selected under phase one of the programme, which is aimed at capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial facilities and transporting them by pipeline to oil fields, where they will be injected into reservoirs to maintain pressure and facilitate crude extraction.

The three sites are: an existing independent water and power project at Taweelah, thought to be the A10/A1 facility; the planned Emirates Aluminium (Emal) captive power plant, also at Taweelah; and the Emirates Steel Industries rolling mill at Mussafah, near Abu Dhabi city. CO2 is likely to be captured post-combustion in the existing facilities, and pre-combustion on the Emal scheme.

The EPC packages will cover each site, while a fourth is expected to cover the construction of the CO2 pipeline that will connect the carbon-capture schemes with oil fields operated by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

Adnoc will buy the CO2 from Masdar, but is not thought to have yet selected which oil field to inject the gas into.

Canada’s SNC Lavalin carried out the feasibility study for the programme, which came up with eight possible sites for the first-phase carbon capture. A smaller shortlist was then drawn up for final approval by the Supreme Petroleum Council earlier this year (MEED 4:4:08).

Despite its huge cost, carbon capture and storage is seen as advantageous as it both cuts harmful emissions and frees up gas that would normally be used for reinjection purposes.

Should the first-phase roll-out prove a success, Masdar will extend the programme to other industrial facilities.

Eventually, the hope is that a market for CO2 can be developed in the region that will allow other oil operators to buy the gas for their own field injection requirements.

Abu Dhabi is pursuing several other clean-fuel schemes. It is developing the world’s largest hydrogen power plant and recently signed an agreement with Germany’s Linde to build a nitrogen production facility, with plans to use the gas for injection purposes.