An extensive new research programme into the long-term potential for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions was launched today by a consortium of leading energy industrial companies, research organizations and the European Union.
Over the next five years, the CO2ReMoVe project will study the injection of carbon dioxide (CO2) at oil and gas field operations in the North Sea Sleipner and Snohvit fields (Norway), in the southern Saharan desert at In Salah (Algeria), and in the German locality of Ketzin. These processes involve separating CO2 from natural gas produced at the fields, compressing the CO2 and injecting it into the field rather than releasing it to the atmosphere.
The objectives of the project are to prove the long-term reliability of geological storage of CO2, and to undertake the research and development necessary to establish scientifically based standards for monitoring future CCS operations. This could in turn lead to guidelines for the certification of sites suitable for CCS on a wide scale.
The European Commission Directorate General for Research is the lead sponsor and will provide 8m€ to the CO2ReMoVe project. The project will be carried out by researchers from a number of European research organisation, with technical guidance provided by the consortium partners and coordination by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).
Leading companies involved in the European energy industry including BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Wintershall, Schlumberger, Statoil, Total and Vattenfall will provide technical guidance and contribute a total of 7m€ to support CO2ReMoVe. Other participating organizations include DNV, a global organization that focuses on risk management in the oil and gas industry; the International Energy Agency and a number of national agencies and research organisations. In total, 27 parties from 11 different countries will participate in the project.
CCS technology offers significant potential as a long-term option to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by capturing CO2 emissions produced by large point-sources such as electricity generation, and storing them underground in locations such as coal beds, saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas fields. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that such large facilities, primarily electric power plants, account for nearly 60 percent of global man-made CO2 emissions.
The technology to implement CCS has been utilized at industrial scale for many years in the oil and gas industry as part of enhanced oil recovery processes and in the treatment of natural gas streams. However, the technology is costly and requires further assessment to confirm its suitability as a long-term option to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions. CO2ReMoVe will build on the existing base of knowledge and experience that has been developed in the oil and gas industry, and will play a major role in determining the potential for CCS to assist in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
CO2ReMoVe will trial a number of approaches in monitoring and verifying CCS activities that are under way at the four storage sites that are included in the programme. These methodologies will include 3D seismic technology, electromagnetic testing, fluid sampling from within the fields, and soil testing. The research program is also intended to lead to the development of scientifically-based best practice guidelines for the identification of suitable re-injection sites and protocols, and tools for monitoring the injection and storage of CO2 in these sites. Each consortium participant will have access to the intellectual property and data generated by the study, and the results will be shared more generally to advance worldwide understanding of how CO2 can be stored and monitored safely.
Quintessa is the only SME participating in CO2ReMoVe. Quintessa is participating in sub-project 2 (SP2), which is concerned with performance assessment and mitigation with the aims of:
- Developing and testing a comprehensive formalised European methodology and tools for performance assessment and mitigation.
- Predicting short-term and long-term safety and reliability of selected CO2 storage sites.
- Compilation of technical recommendations for the best practice in performance assessment and mitigation.