Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)

Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)

What is CCUS and CCUS worldwide?

Carbon capture involves the capturing of anthropogenic waste CO2, transporting it to a storage site and depositing it into sinks such a geological reservoirs or aquifers, where it cannot enter the atmosphere. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) /CCUS can be applied to large point sources such as fossil fuel energy facilities like the natural gas-powered plants located in Trinidad. After capturing the CO2 , it is then compressed and transported for geological storage. Pipelines are preferred for transporting large amounts of CO2 for distances around 1000km. If the volume of CO2 is smaller than a few million tonnes per year then ships/trucks are economically favoured (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2005). After the CO2 is injected into the subsurface, it will rise until it is trapped by some impermeable layer or cap rock where it is stored for millions of years.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), which will help avoid the worst outcomes from climate change by reaching net-zero emissions, sees the mass of CO2 captured using CCS going up from around 40 Million tonnes per annum today to 5635 Million tonnes by 2050, at least a hundred-fold increase. This will require an investment of around US$9.7 Trillion. Many international oil and gas majors, including BP, Shell, Total, Eni and Equinor have announced substantial CCS investments in order to achieve their net-Zero emission targets. For a comprehensive overview of worldwide CCUS projects see the Global Status of CCS 2020 Report by the Global CCS Institute .

CCUS operations (Global CCS Institute)

Figure 1: CCUS operations (Global CCS Institute)

History of CO2 injection in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago has been involved in the oil and gas industry for over a century. Our daily oil production has been declining since our peak in 1978 and our fields are now classified as mature. Many methods of Enhanced Oil Recovery have been attempted in Trinidad, including the injection of CO2. It was first tested in 1972 by Texaco in Guayaguayare and Brighton which then ramped up in 1974 in the Forest Reserve field. From 1975 to 2004, carbon dioxide was intermittently injected in the Upper Forest Formation and Upper Cruse Sands in the Forest Reserve field. From 1990 to 2000 CO2 was continuously injected in the Oropouche field. Approximately 1.26 million Metric Tons (24 Billion cubic feet) of CO2 were injected in both fields in total to recover 4 million barrels of oil, with a peak production of 812 bopd in Forest Reserve. A positive response to injection was observed in all projects within 6 months to 1 year of CO2 injection. (Mohammed-Singh , 2004) before Petrotrin permanently halted injection in 2004 after an explosion at the Point Lisas compressor station. In 2009, Krishna Persad and Associates (KPA) operated a small, 4 well, pilot CO2 project in the Barrackpore farmout, with quite modest results (Sinanan, B. 2016). Since the KPA pilot ended in 2010 no further CO2 injection occurred until May 2020 at a small pilot project operated by Columbus Energy in the Inniss-Trinity IPSC (Guayaguayare). As of December 2020, a positive response was observed while 70% of the 9 Metric tons/day of CO2 currently being continuously injected is forecast to be sequestered in the Herrera Sands. Future Inniss-Trinity expansion projects have the potential for additional recovery of up to 9 million barrels of oil. For more information on this project see:

CO2 emissions in Trinidad and Tobago

Though the nation’s absolute CO2 emissions are relatively insignificant, it has high levels of CO2 emissions on a per capita and per GDP basis (World Resource Institute 2005). As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement steps must be taken to reduce our carbon emissions and to meet the target of cutting emissions by 15% by 2030 (UNDP, 2018). CCUS provides an avenue for Trinidad and Tobago to do so while simultaneously boosting our oil production.

Carbon Management

There has also been growing interest in the storage aspect of carbon management. The Ministry of Planning and Development’s August 2015 Strategy for Reduction of Carbon Emissions in Trinidad and Tobago to 2040 ( ) identified the development of a Carbon Capture and Storage map with possible locations for CCS sites, as a proposed measure in its Action Plan for the mitigation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG). A 2018 Carbon Management study conducted by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) from September 1st 2015 to May 31st 2018, estimated T&T’s emissions of carbon dioxide at over 40 Million Metric Tons per annum, with up to 8 Million Metric Tons of highly concentrated Carbon Dioxide emanating from ammonia plants. In addition, carbon sequestration projects can generate certified emission reduction units (CER) which can be traded with developed countries for revenue. Analysis of CO2 storage also has the ability to support emerging technologies required for clean energy project e.g. blue hydrogen production, in achieving its production and emission targets. The 2018 study estimated that using just two (2) of Heritage Petroleum Company Limited’s reservoirs it may be possible to sequester there approximately 7.3 to 17.2 Million Metric Tons of CO2 over a ten (10) year period based on utilization rates of between 4.0 – 14.5 Mscf CO2/bbl of oil recovered. However, there are substantial uncertainties about the quantity of carbon dioxide that can be stored in different reservoirs via dedicated CCS or through Carbon Capture and CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery. The UTT and the UWI have also jointly proposed to undertake the development of a National Carbon Dioxide Storage Atlas. The Atlas is a key component of the programme that is intended to develop full-scale Carbon Capture and CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery deployment.

Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery Road Map (CERM)

In 2017 a Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery Road Map (CERM) ( Project was launched with a Steering Committee comprising equal membership from the MEEI, Petrotrin, the National Gas Company (NGC), UWI and UTT. The UWI and UTT members co-chaired the Committee.  It should be noted that the overarching goal of the CERM Project at inception was the implementation of CO2 EOR on a large scale to increase Trinidad and Tobago’s oil revenue by TT$ 200-500 million per year in the medium term. The final phase aimed to increase oil production by 15,000 bopd, six years after project launch, using dedicated CO2 pipeline, injection and production facilities over multiple oil fields. The CERM was renamed to the CO2 Emission Reduction Mobilization in 2019.

The CERM project’s operational structure is shown below:

Figure 2: CERM Operational Structure

It incorporates key stakeholders into Working Groups whose objective is to provide data-based recommendations for CO2 EOR pilot projects while building local technical expertise.

CCS symposium

The symposium, hosted at UTT Point Lisas, was held on the 29th & 30th October 2019 in collaboration with foreign partners IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG) and The University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology (UT-BEG) as well as the UTT and UWI. The goals of the symposium were to outline the foundation that is already in place for CCS in T&T and to discuss a way forward for further development with technical support from international partners. It also explored UNFCCC and other funding sources for national CCS programme development. ( )

Figure 3: CCS Symposium Banner

Efforts by the Government to transition towards CCUS feasibility.

  • In September and October, 2012, UWI along with the Global CCS Institute hosted a workshop to draft a CCS Legal and Regulatory Permitting Matrix. Key stakeholders from that session were the MEEI, Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) and the Town and Country Planning Agency. This initiative formed part of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) sponsored grant Program titled “Mainstreaming of Climate Change into National Development and Capacity Building for Participation in Carbon Markets”. Subsequent to the workshop the Global CCS Institute released the October 2012 document, “Carbon Capture and Storage Regulatory Review for Trinidad and Tobago” intended to help the Government and other stakeholders understand the potential role CCS could play in Trinidad and Tobago.( )
  • CCS TLM, a consultancy to carbon capture and storage market, reported on the “Feasibility of Carbon Capture and Storage Projects in Trinidad and Tobago” in a 2013 report to the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
  • A Techno-economic Analysis of Carbon Management in Trinidad and Tobago through coupled Enhanced Oil Recovery and Geological Storage (The 2018 Carbon Management study) already mentioned, was funded by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago at the cost of US $470,835 or TT $3,036,886. A proprietary reservoir screening tool for selecting suitable targets for CCUS was developed based on the reservoir properties of Trinidad’s oil fields. An excel based economic model for predicting CCUS project performance based on key inputs was a key output of the research (See Figure 4 below). These tools are available for licensing from UTT.

Figure 4: Carbon Management Chart

  • In 2020, the MEEI publicly released the guidance document “Guidelines to Operators for the Approval of a CO2 Injection Project by the Resource Management Division” (
  • The Ministry of Planning and Development in close coordination with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will in April 2021 deliver a study to identify and describe the key elements which may influence the choice of carbon pricing instrument and its specific design.
  • The previously mentioned National Storage Atlas project, which is planned over a two (2) year period is presently under consideration by the MEEI for funding at an estimated cost of US$618,000.00 or TT$4,202,400.00. The main objective of the project is to construct a CO2 storage atlas and the sub objectives are to:
    • Gather data on relevant onshore and offshore basins in T&T for geological screening into plausible and implausible storage sites;
    • Survey the literature on the properties necessary for reservoir storage calculations and describe the laboratory testing methods and subsurface surveys essential for appraising storage formations and caprock;
    • Locate selected drill core boreholes to conduct geotechnical tests aimed at validating the literature values used for aquifer storage-capacity calculations;
    • Estimate the CO2 storage capacities of prospective formations.
    • Conduct an analysis of technical, logistical, legislative and regulatory gaps in the CCS chain to develop an appropriate training programme with international partners.
  • Cabinet appointed on 18 February, 2021, a Carbon Capture and Carbon dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery Steering Committee to manage the implementation of a Large-Scale CO2 EOR Project which seeks to increase Trinidad and Tobago’s oil revenue while simultaneously addressing the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, carbon capture and carbon sequestration. The steering committee comprises:
    • Chairperson-Mrs. Penelope Bradshaw-Niles, Permanent Secretary (Ag.) Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI),
    • Ms. Arlene Chow-Chief Executive Officer Heritage Petroleum Limited,
    • Professor Andrew Jupiter-Head of Department of Petroleum Engineering, University of the West Indies
    • Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh- Head Multilateral Agreements Unit, Ministry of Planning and Development and
    • Mr Himalaya Boodoosingh- Manager HSSE, National Gas Company.
    • An engineer from Atlantic LNG to be incorporated at an appropriate stage of the project.

The project would focus on CO2 EOR in the oil acreages held by Heritage Petroleum company in Point Fortin Central, Guapo. Gran Ravine and Forest reserve where Heritage would have the lead and be responsible for the implementation of the project. MEEI would fund the technical studies which will be conducted by UWI and/or UTT by utilizing the Research and Development funds contributed under the Production Sharing Contracts. The first meeting of the committee was held on 18 March at the MEEI. (See media release: Carbon Capture and Carbon Dioxide (Co2) Enhanced Oil Recovery Steering Committee Established.)

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