In a world-first, the UK is to publish an online database of its mapped offshore Carbon Dioxide storage capacity.
The service will go live early next year and will be operated by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) following an agreement with The Crown Estate and the British Geological Survey.
The web-enabled database – the first of its type anywhere in the world - contains geological data, storage estimates, risk assessments and economics of nearly 600 potential CO2 storage units of depleted oil and gas reservoirs, and saline aquifers around the UK.
The UK is potentially well served with offshore CO2 storage and although various estimates have been made of the total amount available, these figures vary widely. This new database will enable interested stakeholders to access information about the storage resource and to make more informed decisions related to the roll out of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the UK.
The ETI launched its £3.8million UK CO2 Storage Appraisal Project in October 2009. With data collection complete and this licence agreement in place, the database will go live in early 2013. As part of the licence agreement, The Crown Estate and the British Geological Survey have together committed £1million to further develop the content of the database and to provide users with a dedicated hosting service.
Andrew Green, CCS Programme Manager at the ETI, said: “Our modelling work has shown there is huge potential and a strong argument for CCS to be a core component of the UK’s future energy mix. The aim of this project has been to provide a more accurate picture of how much storage space is practically available around the UK shores. Whilst a lot of focus is currently on the build and demonstration of CCS plant, the availability of sufficient high-quality storage capacity is crucial to the large scale rollout of CCS in the UK.”
“We are pleased to announce this agreement with The Crown Estate and the British Geological Survey and look forward to working with them to make available and develop what will become a major national asset for the UK.”
Dr Ward Goldthorpe, Programme Manager CCS and Gas Storage, The Crown Estate, said: “The Crown Estate owns the CO2 storage rights on the UK continental shelf and is committed to advancing the assessment and management of the offshore storage resource.
“As an integral part of our programme to help facilitate the creation of a market for CO2 storage services, over the next five years we will be investing jointly with the British Geological Survey in the further development of this web-based system.
“This is a unique partnership that brings together two institutions with a remit for long term stewardship of assets for the national good. Our intention is to ensure the database remains a current and authoritative system so that researchers, industry and other interested stakeholders can access the best available knowledge of storage potential.
“The database will also help to guide The Crown Estate’s management of future CO2 pipeline and storage leasing activities in conjunction with our spatial planning of low carbon energy infrastructure on the UK continental shelf.”
Professor Mike Stephenson of British Geological Survey added: “BGS has over 20 years experience in CCS and will use this expertise to develop and enhance this national resource. In the first year we will update the database so it can be used and viewed online more easily. Then over the following four years we will improve the content and functionality.
“We will be seeking views and feedback from both users and stakeholders as the project progresses. These might include enhancement of the underlying geological data and geomechanical models; building in integrated information to help inform economic assessments of CCS proposals; and development of spatial management aids to help CO2 emitters make useful links to prospective store locations.”
Dr Jeff Chapman, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture & Storage Association, added: “This is a massive opportunity to develop the significant CO2 storage resource that exists in the UK.
“Both The Crown Estate and the British Geological Survey have extensive knowledge and expertise in this area. We look forward to working with them to further develop an effective CO2 storage strategy for the UK that will serve the CCS industry into the future.”