Testing the efficacy of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the North Sea
It has become increasingly clear that new sources of renewable energy will be insufficient for helping the British government to achieve their greenhouse gas emissions targets.
In order to accomplish the 2050 target of an 80% reduction of CO2 emissions it is likely that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will have to play an integral part of any low-carbon energy portfolio. The ideal location for any CCS generation is going to be proximal to existing reservoirs, such as those in the North Sea, which have been depleted of oil and gas. Thus, the prolific success of the oil and gas industry in the North Sea means that there is significant potential for using this infrastructure for CCS. The application of CCS in the North Sea is in its infancy, despite one project being operational for +20 years. This means that there remains an important lack of detail on the quantification of risk that would be associated with such projects. Using seismic reflection data this project seeks to characterise these sediments and their sealing properties. Seismic attributes will be combined with abundant subsurface petrophysical data in the North Sea to populate this better-constrained stratigraphy with quantitative or proxies for rock properties (permeability and porosity) to understand the relative risks of fluid migration. The main conclusions from this project will lead to a better understanding of the potential and application for CCS in the North Sea. It is also anticipated that the overburden characterisation will provide additional palaeo-climatological information on past environmental changes.
Impact of Research
The energy industry and academia will benefit from this project in two distinct ways. Firstly, those working within the field of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will be the primary beneficiaries through an improved knowledge on the seal characteristics above potential CCS reservoirs. Secondly, there will be an improved knowledge on the overburden stratigraphy in the North Sea, its climatological record, and the mapping of potential fluid migration pathways within it. More broadly, the entire UK energy industry will benefit from an extra tool for tackling climate change.
Major grants and funding
NERC Industrial Innovation Fellowship
Lloyd, C., Huuse, M., Barrett, B.J., Stewart, M., and Newton, A.M.W. (2021), A regional CO2 containment assessment of the northern Utsira Formation seal and overburden, northern North Sea, Basin Research, 33, 1985-2017
- University of Manchester
- British Geological Survey
Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact