Producing energy while mitigating the environmental footprint.
Cutting CO2 emissions is a necessity that must be addressed while embracing economic reality. IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) is therefore developing processes, equipment and solvents for acid natural gas sweetening as well as the whole CO2 reinjection chain for enhanced oil recovery. CO2 emissions are thus dealt with at source and captured CO2 is monetized.
IFPEN is also working on technologies aimed at optimizing industry's use of water in oil and gas production.
According to the New Policies scenario of the IEA (International Energy Agency), coal will account for 38% of electricity production in 2035, while gas will account for 23% of production. Factoring in the 2% contribution of oil, more than 60% of electricity production will rely on fossil resources. However, although natural gas presents the advantage of being a low-carbon energy emitting half as much CO2 as coal, it must be remembered that 40% of gas fields are sour: the sweetening of these gases is thus a priority for reducing CO2 emissions at source, and represents a short-term opportunity for CO2 capture processes.
According to the World Energy Council, the interdependence between energy and water is a central international concern. Oil and gas production itself is heavily dependent on the injection of water. Given that this reliance on water does occur quite often in high water stress regions, water cycle management is essential in oil and gas operations.
IFPEN research programs are designed to help industry overcome these challenges. They are structured around three main themes:
In these fields, IFPEN is working with a number of players. Among them are the six sponsors of the Dolphin JIP (IOCs, NOCs and independents), launched in 2013 on the water cycle.
In November 2013, IFPEN hosted a conference to mark the end of the European SiteChar project, aimed at improving the characterization of sites for the geological storage of CO2. The lessons learned during the SiteChar project constitute a useful pool of information for the assessment and granting of CO2 storage licenses in Europe. SiteChar provides a methodological guide for the assessment of CO2 storage sites, incorporating all the technical and economic data required, along with the social acceptance aspects. The SiteChar project, coordinated by IFPEN, lasted three years and brought together experts from 17 organizations in 9 European countries.
At the end of 2013, IFPEN launched an ambitious experimental program as part of the Dolphin JIP. Set to last three years, Dolphin will study the impact of chemical EOR processes on the water cycle on several levels: the well, surface facilities, and reinjection.
Six partners have already joined the program less than two months after its launch, reflecting the significance of the issue for oil companies today.