Geologic carbon storage (GCS) is ramping up worldwide as a viable component of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects aimed at reducing greenhouse pollution to limit climate change. GCS may be a growth opportunity for the application of geophysics in reservoir characterization and monitoring. Federal and state government financial incentives are the economic motivators of the CCUS business in the United States, and recent increases in these incentives have triggered a large number of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Class VI permit applications to inject CO2 for GCS. The applications indicate that almost all such projects propose using geophysical technology for monitoring. We assessed the GCS geophysical market in the United States based on an intensive analysis of recently filed Class VI permit applications. The analysis shows that reprocessing of existing seismic data will be the primary geophysical activity for reservoir characterization prior to CO2 injection. For monitoring, verification, and recording of CO2 injection, time-lapse vertical seismic profiling and 3D seismic imaging will be the dominant technologies followed by 2D time-lapse seismic imaging and some nonseismic methods. Passive seismic monitoring is planned for the majority of CCUS projects to reduce the risk of induced seismicity. If assumptions related to the United States meeting its current climate goals by 2050 are met, then geophysical activity will increase over the next 30 years. An estimate of the seismic crew count needed to support the projects suggests that the scale of GCS-related seismic acquisition by 2050 may reach the current level of onshore oil and gas geophysics crews in the United States. While the economic incentives of a regulation-driven market will press for the minimization of geophysical sensing in GCS, there is also the potential for growth in geophysical activity with the development of advanced processing and analysis tools, multiphysics data interpretation, and cost-effective continuous monitoring.

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