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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

GHGT-16: Session 5B, Storage Costs

Session 5B of the GHGT-16 conference looked at the costs of geological storage of CO2 and started with a brief recap of recent work from the Gulf Coast Carbon Center on early-stage costs of storage project characterisation. This recognised that the highest cost driver in a storage project is 3D seismic, which leads to the question – how much seismic should you do? The work by GCCC described a new standardised methodology for assessing investment needs to prepare data and model for permitting better information for new investment in storage as part of onshore CCS. Although highly site-specific, it was observed that the area of seismic dominates the costs and it seems that the need for such facets is still often poorly defined.

The University of Illinois provided a commercial scale CCS project cost estimate from the Illinois Basin-Decatur project, which officially ended in 2021 after the successful injection of 999,215 tons of CO2. This particular work looked at storage and monitoring costs for the project and provided the audience with figures on the cost per ton of CO2 stored over the project lifetime, and also proposed costs as a result of theoretical scenarios for a 20-year injection period and a 50-year post-injection site care period. As with the previous presentation from GCCC, actual costs will need to be estimated on a project-by-project basis.

Advanced Resources International (ARI) provided an assessment of the costs associated with monitoring, reporting and verification of geologic sequestration of CO2 which concentrated on US projects looking to take advantage of the 45Q system, where projects must demonstrate secure storage and compliance with Class VI / Class II / other requirements as appropriate in order to take advantage of these tax credits. This work noted that additional costs are accrued for complying with applicable state regulations for saline storage and EOR, but in all cases, incremental costs are small compared to the overall costs of the project at less than $1.50 per metric ton.

Los Alamos National Lab gave an insight into their sequestration of CO2 tool (SCO2T). Designed for the rapid assessment of saline aquifers, this tool takes geologic parameters as inputs and provides multiple outputs. The new version of the tool can be used for the rapid characterisation of CO2 injection and dynamic storage AND storage costs, including well drilling, well monitoring and PISC (post-injection and site care) costs. ARI closed the session with a final talk on factors impacting CO2 storage costs based on recent project and regulatory experience, noting the importance of pore space (particularly in the US) and with ever-evolving regulatory requirements and recent project experience, better estimates of site-specific storage costs can be made. A key takeaway of this entire session of storage costs emphasised the fact that such costs are highly regional and extremely site-specific; as with many aspects of CCS, there is not a 'one size fits all' approach and costs must be taken on a case-by-case basis.

The full papers from this session and all others at GHGT-16 will be released in due course with the publication of the conference proceedings. To stay updated on this and all of IEAGHG's activities, you can subscribe to the IEAGHG mailing list at 

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