Studying carbon storage on land

August 16, 2002, 10:00 CEST

The possibilities for underground storage of carbon dioxide at four locations on land will be studied by a European Union project with Statoil participation.

In addition to the coast of mid-Norway, sites under investigation are near Kalundborg in Denmark, Berlin in Germany and south Wales in the UK.

The first part of this saline aquifer carbon dioxide storage (Sacs) programme recently ended. It monitored deposition of the greenhouse gas on Statoil’s Sleipner fields in the North Sea.

Phase two, which starts this autumn, aims to apply experience from the Sleipner area to other European locations where injection below ground might be possible.

It could be relevant, for instance, to drill a deviated well from Statoil’s refinery site at Kalundborg to a formation a little further north.

This could then be used to deposit carbon dioxide both from the refinery and from other industrial plants in the area.

The first couple of years in phase two will be devoted to studies and simulations based on local geological knowledge.

“We’ll plan so far ahead that both industry and the authorities should be able to decide whether injection is practical,” says staff engineer Tore Torp in Statoil’s research and technology unit.

Safety considerations for underground deposition of carbon dioxide differ between land and offshore. Detailed assessments of these will be needed, and the research team wants to discuss them with governments and the general public.

It will also continue monitoring developments on Sleipner to see what will happen with the stored gas in the long term – 500 or 1,000 years from now.

Statoil’s partners in the project are BP, ExxonMobil, Norsk Hydro, TotalFinaElf and Sweden’s Vattenfall, as well as scientific bodies in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK.

The programme is being funded by the European Commission as well as the companies involved and the national authorities in the participating countries.