5th International Workshop on Offshore Geologic CO2 Storage


By Tim Dixon

24 May 2022

The 5th international workshop was held in New Orleans on 19-20th May, a very appropriate location given the growing interest in and vast potential for offshore storage in the Gulf of Mexico.

With 50 attendees in-person and 120 virtually, there was a good mix of industry, researchers and regulators. In particular there was very good attendance by US regulators, State and Federal, as rule-making is underway at the Federal level to allow and regulate offshore CCS.

In a very packed agenda of some 45 presentations, we managed to include time for discussion also. What struck everyone the most was, in the 2 years since the last workshop in Bergen, the number of new projects with offshore storage being progressed. With so many to fit into the schedule, we had to limit the 16 project updates to just 5 minutes each. As well as the number, it was the diversity of the projects that was impressive, covering many industry sectors, different routes to storage, and two including not just shipping for transport but also ship-based handling/injection, as already demonstrated by the Lula project in Brazil. Once the project updates had been covered, the workshop got into more technical details, such as issues with depleted fields, using deep saline formations, containment and well integrity, infrastructure re-use and shipping transport.

It was interesting hearing from US regulators on their interests as they develop their regulations and their openness to receiving inputs from researchers and industry. Also the developments onshore US, specifically the growing number of applications for Class VI permits as well as some State regulators seeking primacy for Class VI. It was also good to see new industry players coming into this area.

As we know, the re-use of infrastructure is complex, both technically and legally. There were good real-life examples of the details to be considered from some projects. The new ship transport plans shared by Shell were also very impressive.

What also came out in the presentations and especially the discussions was the need for standardisation in storage assessment methodologies, making the case for the use of the Storage Resource Management System (SRMS) from SPE.

Of particular pleasure for me was seeing the outputs from EU research projects, STEMM-CCS and ECO2, being used by real projects. This included an example of their outputs being used in the ‘down-selecting’ of techniques for one real project’s monitoring plans so these plans were described as being ‘fit-for-purpose’. We saw this previously with the onshore US Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RSCP) and their outputs being used by larger integrated projects in ‘down-selecting’ monitoring strategies and techniques from the vast range tested in RSCPs.

Overall, there is impressive progress with developing CCS projects offshore, and much knowledge was shared in this workshop. Thanks to the GCCC at the BEG at the University of Texas for sponsoring, and to SSEB for hosting in New Orleans. The venue in an old New Orleans hotel was reputed to be haunted, and it certainly felt like the links given to us for the remote participants had something disturbing them. However, technical challenges aside, the feedback from all attendees, in-person and virtual, was very appreciative and for it to be repeated. IEAGHG will produce a report of the workshop and the presentations will be available on the GCCC website at BEG Global Offshore Initiative | Bureau of Economic Geology (utexas.edu).

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