Large-scale CO2 storage — Is it feasible?
Institute for Energy Technology - Instituttveien 18, Kjeller, Norway
CCS is generally estimated to have to account for about 20% of the reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. This paper focuses on the technical aspects of CO2 storage, even if the CCS challenge is equally dependent upon finding viable international solutions to a wide range of economic, political and cultural issues. It has already been demonstrated that it is technically possible to store adequate amounts of CO2 in the subsurface (Sleipner, InSalah, Snøhvit). The large-scale storage challenge (several Gigatons of CO2 per year) is more an issue of minimizing cost without compromising safety, and of making international regulations.The storage challenge may be split into 4 main parts: 1) finding reservoirs with adequate storage capacity, 2) make sure that the sealing capacity above the reservoir is sufficient, 3) build the infrastructure for transport, drilling and injection, and 4) set up and perform the necessary monitoring activities. More than 150 years of worldwide experience from the production of oil and gas is an important source of competence for CO2 storage. The storage challenge is however different in three important aspects: 1) the storage activity results in pressure increase in the subsurface, 2) there is no production of fluids that give important feedback on reservoir performance, and 3) the monitoring requirement will have to extend for a much longer time into the future than what is needed during oil and gas production. An important property of CO2 is that its behaviour in the subsurface is significantly different from that of oil and gas. CO2 in contact with water is reactive and corrosive, and may impose great damage on both man-made and natural materials, if proper precautions are not executed. On the other hand, the long-term effect of most of these reactions is that a large amount of CO2 will become immobilized and permanently stored as solid carbonate minerals. The reduced opportunity for direct monitoring of fluid samples close to the reservoir, the general pressure build up, and the reactive nature of CO2, have created a need for new research and knowledge, to be used in conjunction with operating competence from the oil and gas industry. Experimental work on fluid flow, deformation and reaction, as well as simulations to predict the future performance of the injected CO2, are much more important in connection with CO2 storage, as compared with conventional oil and gas production. To conclude this overview of the CO2 storage challenge, the technical feasibility of large-scale CO2 storage has been demonstrated. The cost is however going to be significant, especially in the initial phase. The public acceptance of CCS, and the willingness to pay the bill, will depend on several important factors: a serious acceptance of the climate problem, economic and political regulations that are globally fair, and the willingness of each and one of us to accept a higher price for energy.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences - SIF 2013
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