As fossil fuel demand increases worldwide, increased use will result in a rise in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Governments are calling for technologies to reduce atmospheric emissions from fossil fuel combustion.
Geologic carbon storage is a carbon management strategy suggested for handling CO2 captured from stationary sources, such as electrical power generation and industrial facilities. Most current geologic carbon storage operations are limited to research and development ventures.
The CO2 is injected into stable geologic reservoirs with low-permeability seals that permanently isolate stored CO2 from the atmosphere. Governmental agencies and industries worldwide are identifying and investigating candidate reservoirs for the storage of CO2, including deep saline formations, mature oil and gas reservoirs, and coal beds. The reservoirs may be selected to either store the CO2 permanently or to make it available for subsequent commercial use.
The oil and gas industry’s years of experience play a critical role in advancing the science and practice of geologic carbon storage. This includes ten years of experience storing CO2 in the subsurface at Sleipner, Norway, at In Salah, Algeria, et al. The industry also has 30 years using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. The CO2 used for EOR is produced from naturally-occurring geologic reservoirs and also anthropogenic sources. Industry also has more than 50 years of experience storing natural gas in saline reservoirs.
This long history of safe CO2 EOR and natural gas storage serves as a working laboratory for geologic carbon storage. In addition to CO2 EOR, CO2 enhanced gas recovery (EGR) is also possible. While EOR and EGR operations are not conducted for CO2 storage purposes, the oil and gas industry’s practical knowledge of technologies related to injection, reservoir performance, transportation, and materials handling is broadly available and has direct application to the practices of geologic carbon storage.
Geologic carbon storage represents an important technology for mitigating increased atmospheric CO2. Just as industry experience in CO2 EOR and EGR benefits geologic carbon storage activities, research and technology development for carbon storage will also increase understanding of subsurface processes occurring in CO2 EOR and EGR operations. This should result in increased efficiency and greater opportunities for the production of incremental oil and gas. Therefore, AAPG urges the expansion of funding for scientific research on permanent carbon storage and reservoir performance.