Review of monitoring issues and technologies associated with the long-term underground storage of carbon dioxide
R. A. Chadwick, R. Arts, M. Bentham, O. Eiken, S. Holloway, G. A. Kirby, J. M. Pearce, J. P. Williamson, P. Zweigel, 2009. "Review of monitoring issues and technologies associated with the long-term underground storage of carbon dioxide", Underground Gas Storage: Worldwide Experiences and Future Development in the UK and Europe, D. J. Evans, R. A. Chadwick
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Large-scale underground storage of CO2 has the potential to play a key role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Typical underground storage reservoirs would lie at depths of 1000 m or more and contain tens or even hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2. A likely regulatory requirement is that storage sites would have to be monitored both to prove their efficacy in emissions reduction and to ensure site safety. A diverse portfolio of potential monitoring tools is available, some tried and tested in the oil industry, others as yet unproven. Shallow-focused techniques are likely to be deployed to demonstrate short-term site performance and, in the longer term, to ensure early warning of potential surface leakage. Deeper focused methods, notably time-lapse seismic, will be used to track CO2 migration in the subsurface, to assess reservoir performance and to calibrate/validate site performance simulation models. The duration of a monitoring programme is likely to be highly site specific, but conformance between predicted and observed site performance may form an acceptable basis for site closure.
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The UK became a net importer of natural gas in 2004 and by 2020 will import up to 90% of its requirements, leaving it vulnerable to increasing energy bills and risk of disruption to supply. New pipelines to Europe and improvements to interconnectors will meet some demand, but Government recognizes the need for increased gas storage capacity: this may be best met by the construction of underground storage facilities. Energy security has also raised the likelihood of a new generation of coal-fired power-stations, which to be environmentally viable, will require clean-coal technologies with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions. A key element of this strategy will be underground CO2 storage. This volume reviews the technologies and issues involved in the underground storage of natural gas and CO2, with examples from the UK and overseas. The potential for underground storage of other gases such as hydrogen, or compressed air linked to renewable sources is also reviewed.