Delivery to the deep: storing CO2 beneath the seabed

2014-03-13 11:03 by Anja Reitz

With carbon capture and storage proving difficult to implement onshore, is there any hope that CO2 can be stored in rock formations beneath the seabed? Statoil's Sleipner and Snøhvit fields offshore Norway have proved the concept is possible. Now the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has mapped the CO2 storage potential under Norway's waters, with an eye to expanding the idea. NPD's project director for CO2 storage Eva Halland reveals more.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been part of energy and climate change discussions for decades. Despite incremental improvements in the efficiency of hydrocarbon-based power generation, many scientists and environmental campaigners believe CCS is the only effective method of reducing fossil fuel CO2 emissions to levels that are compliant with international climate change resolutions.

The process, which involves the removal of CO2 from the flue gas of heavily emitting point-source polluters before transporting it for underground storage, has proved ruinously difficult to implement on a large-scale, with a number of high-profile projects put on ice and the technology struggling to build momentum in the market. If CCS has struggled to take off on land, then surely it follows that the technology would be exponentially harder to implement in the offshore environment as a means of reducing the CO2 content of extracted natural gas?

As it turns out, Norway, which hosts arguably the world's most advanced offshore oil and gas industry, has been making an excellent case for the viability of offshore CCS. For a start, Statoil's offshore Sleipner and Snøhvit gas fields have been storing CO2 from gas since 1996 and 2008 respectively, providing two fully functional demonstrations of safe, stable and permanent carbon storage in geological formations under the seabed (Sleipner stores its separated CO2 in the Utsira saline aquifer, while Snøhvit uses the Stø formation).


Source: offshore, 6 March 2014, Chris Lo

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