Great potential for North Sea CO2 storage
13/12/2011 An atlas describing possible subsurface storage locations for carbon dioxide in the Norwegian part of the North Sea will be submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy today.
The atlas, which was prepared by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, shows that this area has a total storage capacity of about 70 billion tonnes – or 70 gigatons – of carbon dioxide. In comparison, the oil refinery at Mongstad in Hordaland County, which is the largest single source of CO2 emissions in Norway, emits 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
”We assumed that the mapped areas had a great potential, and this has now been confirmed,” says Eva Halland, project manager for preparation of the atlas.
The objective of the atlas, which is the first of its kind, is to provide an overview over geological structures that are suitable for secure long-term storage of CO2. Knowledge regarding reservoir properties, sealing rocks, migration paths, storage capacity and monitoring methods is crucial in order to determine whether potential storage locations are suited to store CO2 over a long period of time.
The atlas is based on studies and data from more than 40 years of petroleum activity. Twenty-one geological formations have been mapped and assessed as regards reservoir quality and presence of sealing layers. Reservoirs that are considered suitable have been assessed further.
The NPD has assessed shutdown oil and gas fields, in addition to producing fields that, according to plan, will shut down by 2030 and by 2050. Storage locations that can be used in connection with increased recovery using injection of CO2 are also described.
According to Halland, the work has resulted in better understanding of the coastal areas, including the Utsira and Skade formations, which have proven to be more complex than assumed.
”There could be a significant potential in these formations, but this must be assessed further,” says Halland.
The storage atlas is directed at authorities and companies that need information regarding where CO2 can be stored safely and efficiently. In addition, it could be an important teaching tool at schools and universities.
The atlas will be used by the NPD in connection with announcements and applications regarding storage of CO2.
The atlas can be downloaded free of charge on the NPD’s website. Hard-cover editions cost NOK 1000. (see right column)