Purpose The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have consistently ranked high in per capita carbon emissions, not to mention the fact that a lifestyle with a high ecological footprint in a fragile ecosystem can affect the regional environment, prosperity and social stability. The adoption of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the GCC countries has been consistently gaining attention, as it is widely seen as a suitable mitigation measure, particularly in a region where heavy industry and geological exploitation have led to wealth and prosperity. Additionally, making captured CO2 available for enhanced oil recovery is expected to create significant economic value. However, the lack of a coordinated environmental regulation regime to cap future carbon emissions is posing significant risks for further CCS development. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach This paper reviews the state of play with regard to CCS in the GCC region and investigate the opportunities and challenges facing CCS development in the UAE by use of the interview technique.

Findings This paper finds that the lack of CCS-related regulations, absence of CCS policy at a national level and limited human capital resources are impeding the development of CCS in the UAE. Findings from this study can offer GCC policy-makers relevant insights into how best to develop CCS projects for the GCC region.

Originality/value This is an original research, that has not been conducted before. This is first of a kind assessment for the GCC region

Keywords:Carbon capture and storage, Enhanced oil recovery, Innovations system, CO2 mitigation, Abu Dhabi, UAE, GCC, Carbon, United Arab Emirates