Assessing European Capacity for Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide    

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Thomas Vangkilde-Pedersen
GEUS Denmark
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Relation to other studies and activities

A few other studies have previously been made as precursors for the current proposal. Resulting from an EU Joule project, Holloway et al. in 1996, reported the first European numbers for possible geological storage in the order of magnitude 800 billion tonnes of CO2, mainly far offshore in the North Sea. These estimates of geological capacities were, as it was stated ‘broad brush’ numbers, but never the less encouraging and thus leading to further work.

GESTCO: The Joule study mentioned above combined with commencement of geological storage of up 1 million tonnes of CO2 in a deep saline aquifer at the offshore Norwegian Sleipner gas field, was the inspiration for the project entitled ‘Geological Storage of CO2 from combustion of fossil fuel’ (GESTCO), a 3-year EU FP5 project covering 8 countries (Norway, Denmark, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France and Greece). The study was carried out by the eight national geological surveys and was coordinated by GEUS. Results are given in Christensen et al, 2003: Geological Storage of CO2 from Combustion of Fossil Fuel: SUMMARY REPORT, EU FP5 Project No. ENK6-CT-1999-00010. Without the GESTCO project results and the methodologies developed in the project it would not be possible to carry out the GeoCapacity project.

CASTOR: The Castor project is part of the first round of contracts within FP6. It is a very large project mainly directed at improving post-combustion capture of CO2. Supplementing this work, are site-specific activities on four potential geological storage locations in Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, and Spain.

As part the strategic activities of CASTOR it has fortunately been possible to initiate collaborative activities with some of the new member countries and two of the candidate EU GeoCapacity Annex I "Description of Work" countries. These are the eight countries marked with an asterisk (*) in TABLE 1. This collaboration has been initiated, using also the successful European research network ENeRG as a facilitator. Work has been progressing for a little more than half a year and some of the results were included in the project application and will become part of the project documentation. Other results comprise building the foundation for future cooperation – something which has been invaluable in compiling the GeoCapacity project.

During the past three years it has been attempted to initiate a national Italian CCS mapping and assessment project, the CONFITANET initiative. Italy has a long history of oil and gas exploitation and the country almost certainly has a large, but as yet unknown, potential for CSS. In designing the current project, this national initiative has been factored into the planning and it is the intention that the EU and the national projects will be able to cooperate seamlessly.

In Switzerland planning is ongoing with the purpose of defining a national initiative covering various aspects of CCS: coal bed methane, CO2 storage potential mapping and possibly an injection experiment.

The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, CSLF ( is a global political/technical forum chaired by the United States. Membership comprises the main CO2 emitting countries, also developing countries such as China, India and South Africa. The CSLF does not directly carry out RTD, but operates mainly on policy, technology and strategy analysis, legal and financial issues. The CSLF has, however, formed a Task Force, which has been charged with identifying and reviewing standards for geological storage capacity assessment. Considering the high EU level of political awareness and RTD investment in CCS, contributions to CSLF from the EU on issues of standards would be appropriate and have – along with cooperation with China – been factored into the current project proposal (WP 4 Standards and WP 6 International Cooperation).

Examples of geological storage of Carbon dioxide.

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