Qatar

Brief description:

Background

Qatar ratified the UNFCCC in 1996 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2005. It is a non-Annex 1 UNFCCC party - and therefore not obligated to set emission control targets - but is making voluntary efforts and plans to reduce its national greenhouse gas emissions. Read its 2011 initial national communication to the UNFCCC here. Qatar is one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The Qatar National Vision 2030, published in 2008, defines the long-term goals for the country and provides a framework for national strategies and implementation plans. Its four "pillars of development" are human, social, economic and environmental development.

Qatar is a leading fossil fuel producer and the country's economy is highly dependent on oil and gas (crude oil, LNG, condensate and gas-to-liquids), which make up 97% of the nation's exports.

The region has an arid climate where any further climatic change could adversely affect eco-systems and environment. National climate
records show that the annual mean temperature has increased by 0.3C over the last 40 years, but there was no significant changes found in annual rainfall.

Emissions

In 2007, the country emitted more than 62.4 million tonnes of GHG emissions, with CO2 making up 93%. The main source of GHG emissions is the energy sector, accounting for 92% of CO2 and N2O emissions, and around 81% of the methane emissions. Of this amount, flaring - mainly from oil and gas production - was responsible for 43% to 50 % of methane and sulphur dioxide emissions.

The energy sector emitted 52,816Gg of CO2 from production and fugitive emissions. Of this, the oil and gas sector was reponsible for 50%, power and water about 27% and road transport 7%. Industrial processing emitted 5.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

CCS policy

Energy Minister, HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, has stated that, as a provider of hydrocarbons, Qatar must lead the way in reducing the impact of energy use on the environment, in Qatar and in the GCC region. He also stressed the need to back companies and institutes with near-to-market technologies, particularly in carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency management.

In November 2010, Qatar submitted a proposal to the United Nations for a new methodology to back the use of carbon capture and storage as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide - to be part of the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. Later developments at the 2011 climate talks in Durban, South Africa, saw an agreement on including CCS within the CDM. Further developments are awaited.

The Doha Carbon & Energy Forum is a joint initiative of the Qatar Foundation, Qatar Petroleum, and ExxonMobil Qatar. Its stated aim is "to identify technologies, industrial applications, and regulatory and policy frameworks in the fields of alternative energy, energy efficiency, and carbon capture and sequestration that are relevant to Qatar and the other countries of the GCC".

In November 2010, the forum published a research paper on CCS. This identifies the significant potential for CCS to deliver large reductions in emissions while still allowing coal to play a part in electricity generation. It also points to the use of CCS within carbon-intensive fuel production, such as gas-to-liquid and liquefied natural gas (LNG) processes, as well as a role in enhanced oil recovery operations. It also details current economic, technical, regulatory, environmental and public acceptance challenges.

Regulatory framework

Qatar's Law 30 of 2002 provides a foundation for environmental protection legislation. One of its aims is to counteract the effects of pollution and prevent the long-term environmental effects of construction, industrial, agricultural and economical activities. Any moves to reduce GHG emissions through CCS would be legislated for under this law.

CCS initiatives

The Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Center is a primary research arm of the Qatar Shell Research and Technology Center (QSRTC). It is jointly funded by Qatar Petroleum, Shell, and the Qatar Science and Technology Park, to the tune of $70 million, and is a 10-year commitment to study carbonate reservoirs, such as the Khuff Formation, a vast carbonate platform stretching across most of the Arabian plate. It is exploring this research topic as an opportunity for collaboration between Qatar and the UK - with links to Imperial College of London’s Energy Futures Lab as well as a move to recruit expertise in the field.

Qatar Fuel Additives Company (QAFAC), a major producer in Qatar, placed an order in March 2012 for a large-scale CO2 recovery plant from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). It plans to install this within its methanol production plant, near Doha, by autumn 2014. Qafac has launched other environmental initiatives, including a flare management programme to achieve zero flaring, and fugitive emissions control through a leak detection and repair programme.

Other information

Gulf Times, article on Qatar and CDM, November 2010




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