The CERM Project aims to provide information that will lead to increased oil production and possibly sequester carbon dioxide emissions. However, like most industrial processes, there are few risks associated with CO2EOR such as gas leaks and ground water contamination.
CERM has been conducting preliminary research as it relates to the general public’s reaction to CO2EOR. The two main apprehensions are safety and environmental concerns. Both of which can be remedied by properly educating the public on the process of CO2EOR, and ensuring that they are aware of policies already in place to mitigate the environmental risks.
The Trinidad and Tobago Environmental Management Act Chapter 35:05 outlines Designated Activities (24-29) specifically for the oil and gas industry. Designated Activities 25 and 27 are especially relevant to the CERM Project:
Through the process of obtaining a Certificate of Environmental Clearance, the operator will be required to state all cumulative potential risks and impacts, the proposed mitigation measures and a monitoring plan. The public will be given a chance to voice their opinion about these safety measures during stakeholder consultations.
The general public's other possible concerns may be related to the source, transport and storage of CO2, and the protocol to be followed in the event of a possible CO2 leak either into the underground water table or into the atmosphere. These issues will also be addressed under the Designated Activities of the Environmental Management Act.
Before environmental clearance is granted for any CO2EOR project, a thorough risk assessment and updated emergency response and oil spill contingency plans are required. The proximity of the project site to human and ecological receptors must also be considered, and the integrity of project components (pipelines, storage facilities, etc.) will be inspected.
The citizens of Trinidad and Tobago can be confident that CO2EOR will not be implemented on a larger scale until sufficient mitigation strategies are in place to address potential risks.
What is the Paris Climate Change Agreement?
The Paris Climate Change Agreement, also known as the Paris Accord, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to oversee mitigation of greenhouse gases, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The agreement was signed by 194 states and the European Union and has been ratified by 176 states and the European Union as of May 2018. Each country is responsible for determining and enacting its own strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries will receive financial aid to cover the cost of switching to renewable energy and adapting to climate change. The main goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement limit global warming by limiting the global temperature rise below 2°C in this century.
Trinidad and Tobago Carbon Emissions
Trinidad & Tobago has the highest carbon emissions per capita in the region, and second overall in the world. In 2016, the Trinidad and Tobago carbon dioxide emissions per capita was 25.72 metric tonnes, almost five times that of Barbados (5.41 metric tonnes per capita). The petrochemical industry is responsible for more than half of the carbon dioxide emissions in Trinidad and Tobago, while power generation and transport account for 23% and 6% of emissions respectively.
In 2016, the Trinidad and Tobago carbon dioxide emissions per capita was 25.72 metric tonnes.
The Ministry of Planning and Development has pledged to reduce cumulative carbon emissions by 15% in the power generation, transportation and industrialised sectors by the year 2030. While this step may help in global warming mitigation, there is so much more that can be done if the option of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and CO2EOR is considered. According to Dr. Adel Al Taweel and Dr. Donnie Boodlal from the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), CO2EOR has the greatest potential for reducing emissions (approximately 7 Mt carbon dioxide per year).
If implemented on a larger scale, the CERM Project can significantly impact this country’s Nationally Determined Contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The CERM Project was launched on January 24th, 2017 by Professor Andrew Jupiter at the Energy Chamber Conference in Port of Spain Trinidad. Following an inaugural meeting on 2nd February 2017, the CERM Steering Committee was formed comprising representatives from MEEI, PETROTRIN, NGC, UWI and UTT. The Steering Committee is chaired by Honorary Fellow in Practice, Wayne Bertrand (UWI) and Dr. David Alexander (UTT). Dr. Lorraine Sobers (UWI) is the Project Coordinator.
Below is a recap of the CERM Timeline for the year 2017.
On September 28th, 2017 CERM Team Members met at the Petrotrin Learning Centre for the 2nd CERM Workshop. PETROTRIN sponsored the half day programme which was facilitated by the CERM Project Coordinator, Dr. Lorraine Sobers. The purpose of the Workshop was three-fold:
The Workshop was very interactive and participants gained a better understanding of their role within the CERM Project.
On May 8th, 2017 twenty six participants met at the Petrotrin Learning Centre to ‘jumpstart’ the CERM Project. This first workshop was sponsored by PETROTRIN and facilitated by Dr. Graham King of the CR.T.CAL TH.NK.NG Institute of UWI. The workshop started promptly at 9am with Opening Remarks made by Mr. Ramish Boodoo, on behalf of Petrotrin President, Mr. Fitzroy Harewood.
In his opening remarks Mr. Boodoo emphasized the alignment of the CERM Project with the Petrotrin’s plan to increase heavy oil production and the need for the personal commitment of each team member.
The Workshop provided the opportunity for team members from seven institutions- Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Petrotrin, the National Gas Company, the University of the West Indies, the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Nation Energy Corporation and the Environmental Management Agency- to gain an overview of the CERM project and appreciate the impact of their contribution to the overall output.
CERM held its inaugural meeting at Petrotrin Teaching and Learning Center on January 24th, 2017. This meeting was called by MEEI Permanent Secretary Mr. Selwyn Lashley and chaired by Prof. Andrew Jupiter (UWI). The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI), Petrotrin, OWTU (Petrotrin), NGC, UWI, UTT and the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago. The purpose of this meeting was to facilitate collaboration between stakeholders to thoroughly explore the potential for using CO2EOR to increase local oil production.
Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2EOR) has been identified by industry experts, researchers and local oil producers as a viable option for increasing Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) heavy oil production using carbon dioxide emissions from the petrochemical , power and LNG sectors. In this process carbon dioxide is injected into an oil reservoir and dissolves in the crude oil. The resulting mixture reduces the oil viscosity and causes the oil to swell, leading to greater oil mobility and ultimately increased oil production. Petrotrin operated promising CO2EOR pilot projects in the Forest Reserve and Oropouche fields in the 1970s and 1990s for a limited time. Since then carbon dioxide emissions have increased while oil production has declined; however CO2EOR has the potential to arrest and possibly reverse both trends.
The major stakeholders: the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI), the National Gas Company (NGC), PETROTRIN, UWI, and UTT need to coordinate efforts aimed at implementing CO2EOR on a large scale in order to realize CO2EOR in Trinidad and Tobago. At 2017’s Energy Chamber Conference the Road Map for CO2EOR in Trinidad and Tobago was presented by Dr. Lorraine Sobers and since then, the key stakeholders have set up the framework for a steering committee to establish and manage the CO2EOR Road Map (CERM).
Welcome to The CERM Project Blog! Here we will post regular updates about the project, as well as interviews, presentations and other educational articles related to carbon dioxide as an enhanced oil recovery process (CO2EOR).
The CERM Project is innovative in its collaborative, comprehensive and systematic approach to developing CO2EOR in Trinidad and Tobago. The CERM Project Team is carrying out detailed analysis on technical, environmental, commercial, legal and socio-economic issues to underpin recommendations for the capital investments needed for supporting a carbon dioxide transportation network.
The technical data gleaned from previous carbon dioxide floods and generalized geological descriptions are not sufficient to address the inherent risks of investing more than TT $2 billion dollars in carbon dioxide transport, injection and processing infrastructure.
For many years local and foreign experts have extolled the potential for CO2EOR - the CERM project is a significant step toward realizing this potential. The mandate of the CERM Working Groups is to give data-based estimates for oil production and, to decrease financial, environmental and technical risk of CO2EOR.
To this end the CERM Project will be planning and designing a CO2EOR Pilot Project.
The CERM Project addresses the urgent need to implement sustainable measures to increase Trinidad and Tobago’s oil production using carbon dioxide emissions. The major driver of this project is to increase the nation’s oil revenue, using enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for reserves which have been already discovered. The approach of the project team will provide data-based recommendations for the CO2EOR pilot project while building local technical expertise.
We hope you join us on this journey to implementing carbon dioxide as an EOR process in Trinidad and Tobago!
The CERM Project is a collaboration between academic institutions, The University of the West Indies (UWI) and The University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT), and Government Energy Institutions - the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI), PETROTRIN and the National Gas Company (NGC) toward sustainable development of known oil reserves using Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery.