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Carbon Capture (Utilization) & Storage

Following the Paris Agreement of 2015, and more climate summits after it, several countries have committed to reaching carbon neutrality achieving net-zero emissions within a few decades. However, reaching this goal will not only require renewable sources of energy, but also negative emission technologies..

Carbon capture and storage or carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources before it enters the atmosphere, transporting it, and storing it in underground geological formations (geosequestration) for centuries or millennia. The aim is to prevent the release of CO2 from heavy industry, such as the oil- and gas industry, process industries and others with the intent of mitigating the effects of climate change.

Carbon capture and utilization (CCU) means using captured CO2 directly – or converting captured CO2 to be recycled into useful industrial products. CCS is a relatively expensive process yielding a product with an intrinsic low value (i.e., CO2). Hence, carbon capture makes economically more sense when combined with a utilization process where the cheap CO2 can be used to produce high-value chemicals to offset the high costs of capture operations.  Some of these chemicals can on their turn be transferred back into electricity, making CO2 not only a feedstock, but also an ideal energy carrier! CCS  and CCU are usually discussed collectively as carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS). Unlike CCS, CCU does not aim for permanent geological storage. See diagram:

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Particularly for the E&P business, implementation of the following specific CC(U)S technology is of utmost importance: EOR, or Enhanced Oil Recovery.

CO2 has been injected into geological formations for several decades for various purposes, including enhanced oil recovery. This is not carbon neutral, as that CO2 is released when the oil is burned, and injected CO2 may be released in the producing well.

To reduce the amount of CO2, released in the atmosphere, CCS is more applicably to the E&P industry than CCUS. After capture, the CO2 must be transported to suitable storage sites (such as injection in old, depleted fields or saline aquifers), see below diagram. Pipelines are principally the cheapest form of transport. Impurities in CO2 streams, like sulfurs and water, could pose a significant threat of increased pipeline- and well corrosion. This is one of the risks associated with CCS developments and needs to be properly managed.

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The long-term storage of CO2 is a relatively new concept.  This is where the global E&P industry will play a major role in the years and decades to come.  It is, as yet, uncertain to predict the long-term security of submarine or underground storage, due to the lack of experience. However, it is believed that CO2 could be trapped for millions of years, and although some leakage may occur, appropriate storage sites are likely to retain over 99% for over 1000 years. The best example is Norway's Sleipner gas field, the oldest industrial scale retention project. An environmental assessment conducted after ten years of operation concluded that geosequestration (injection into deep geological formations) was the most definite form of permanent geological storage method. A major condition is that the geological environment is tectonically stable and a site suitable for CO2 storage. Physical (e.g., highly impermeable caprock) and geochemical trapping (e.g. carbonate precipitation) prevent the CO2 from escaping to the surface. Equally important is the proper management of the injection of CO2, as escape of the gas from the injection pipe is considered a potentially greater risk. This requires expert knowledge! OPS OES Ltd. provides this know-how.

Five main categories of potential risks have been distinguished:

 

  1. Technical

  2. Organization

  3. Economic

  4. Political

  5. Commercial

 

OPS OES Ltd. supports Operators in mitigating many of these risks:

 

  1. At organizational level by adding resources, competencies, procedure, and systems (e.g., IT):

  • OPS-OES Ltd. provides advisors from various disciplines who can design a CCS masterplan/program (MMV) and lead the implementation of it to reduce CO2 in all activities, on- and offshore.

  • In addition, we provide well engineers with expertise in (CO2) injector well design and operations, and facilities specialists, verifying the integrity of pipelines and platform top sites.

  2.At subsurface level with continuous measurement, monitoring and validation (MMV). Three main categories are     distinguished here:

  • Capacity (volume); Storable quantities; P10, P50, P90.

  • Injectivity: high pressure, could lead to formation damage, including movement of clay minerals destroying the permeability of the reservoir, or could even induce earthquakes. Subsurface stability is critical. Chemical reactions, fluid-fluid, and fluid-mineral reactions. OPS OES Ltd. has several expert personnel to address these specific risks.

  • Leakage (during or after CO2 injection). 

Leakage can happen in many ways and at different magnitudes, as indicated in the diagram below, and can start at the injection wellbore. Faults and connected permeable formations, or the absence of an integer caprock can also ultimately result in leakage pathways.

 

 

 

 

 

However, it is believed that by good site screening and engineering design, the risk of leakage is unlikely.

Monitoring will cover the full project lifecycle from Pre-Injection, Injection, Closure and Post-Closure (see diagram below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monitoring allows leak detection with enough warning to minimize the amount lost, and to quantify the leak size. Longer term monitoring can be done at subsurface levels:

 

  • A direct method is drilling deep enough to collect a sample.

  • An indirect method is with sound or electromagnetic waves

  • Seismic monitoring can identify migration pathways of the CO2 plume

  • Organic chemical tracers can be used during injection of CO2 into an existing oil or gas field, either for EOR, pressure support or storage. Regular sampling at producing wells will detect if injected CO2 has migrated from the injection point to the producer

The General Workflow of any CCS project is very logical and straightforward, and is summarized as follows:

 

  1. Assess the storage capacity and define optimal operational plan including well locations and injection rates/pressures: the so-called SDP.

  2. Separating, capturing, and conditioning the excess CO2

  3. Compression and transporting the excess CO2 via a pipeline

  4. Injection and storage in depleted reservoirs at a selected storage site, most likely located offshore

  5. Monitoring, Measurement and Validation (MMV) Plan of the sequestration for a certain period of time.

 

 OPS OES Ltd. has engaged a unique, multi-national and multi-talented team from various disciplines. The current team consists of 8 professional experts, of whom 6 have a Ph.D. It is expected that soon, a 9th member will be added:

 

  1. Project Manager / CCS Well Engineer, Ph.D., and assoc. Professor

  2. Team Principal / CCS Advisor, Ph.D.

  3. CCS Well Engineer, M.Sc.

  4. Geoscience Specialist, Ph.D.

  5. 3-D Static Reservoir Modeler, Ph.D.

  6. 3-D Dynamic Reservoir Modeler (Simulator), M.Sc.

  7. Facilities Engineer, Ph.D.

  8. Geomechanics Specialist, Ph.D.

  9. (CCS Geoscientist, M.Sc.)

 

This team has many years of CCS consultancy experience, and moreover, has many years of Real Field expertise. All skills required to set up and execute CCS projects are present in our team.

 

The team’s Team Principal is an internationally recognized and registered CCS instructor, running 5-day courses for technical personnel and 2-day courses for management. This can be easily adjusted according to the Client’s requirements. The course can be run “live” at Clients premises, and online. The former is preferred, because of the interaction with students and the working of practical problems/exercises.

 

OPS OES Ltd. is happy to give a full presentation of the CCS services we provide to any Operator or interested organization with genuine interest.

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