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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Risk Management Network and Environment Research Network Combined Meeting Concludes

 The summary report of the Risk Management Network and Environmental Research Network Combined meeting held in September 2015 has now been published. This meeting was held at the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC), in Southampton and was attended by 62 delegates from 11 countries. The three day meeting included themes on risk assessment methodologies, risk communication and mitigation strategies as well as environmental research. There was an emphasis on potential impacts of CO2 in marine environments, natural variability and the unscheduled release of CO2 from pipelines. Coverage also included formation fluid release, overburden features, international initiatives and environmental impact assessments notably the Peterhead – Goldeneye project.

The environmental research topics highlighted by the meeting focused on the environmental changes caused by CO2. In shelf seas with a high tidal flux, like the North Sea, there is rapid dispersion so the impact of CO2 anomalies are likely to be limited. There are also wide natural variations which need to be distinguished from any artificially induced changes. The importance of overburden characterisation above caprock and storage complexes with multiple seals has been recognised.

The meeting concluded that the risk assessment for CO2 geological storage is maturing. If leaks do occur they are likely to have low environmental impacts. Wellbore issues are still the predominate risk. There are established technology solutions but more work to test and apply them was suggested. The meeting has clearly shown that great developments in understanding environmental aspects in the marine environment are taking place. Mobile sensor technology is also improving especially with the advent of long-range autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The meeting concluded on a successful note and clearly highlighted the advances in research on marine impacts around the world

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