International Workshop on Offshore Geological CO2 Storage


By Tim Dixon

22 April 2016

 The world of offshore CCS gathered together over the 19-21 April 2016 at the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at The University of Texas, Austin, Texas, for a workshop on offshore geological storage of CO2. The workshop was organized by the Gulf Coast Carbon Centre at BEG, IEAGHG, and the South African National Energy Development Institute, and was supported by the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF). Over 50 people attended from 13 countries, including from six developing countries.

The workshop followed a recommendation in the report by the CSLF’s Task Force on Offshore Storage for international knowledge-sharing through such activities.

The aims of the workshop were to undertake a global needs assessment for offshore geological CO2 storage, to initiate a discussion about the various aspects of offshore transport and storage, and to build an international community of parties interested in offshore storage. This was achieved by bringing together those who are doing offshore CCS to share knowledge with those who are interested in doing, and by facilitating countries to identify their specific issues, challenges, opportunities, and then to Identify synergies, common gaps and goals, and define common action items. There was a pre-workshop survey to assess the status and needs assessment survey for each country.

Experts shared their knowledge and experiences on the first day, with the current state of knowledge from Norway (Statoil), The Netherlands (TNO), Brazil, Japan, and the UK. These “How To….” talks covered storage assessments, CO2-EOR, transport options, risk management, monitoring, environmental impacts, infrastructure and regulations. Of particular interest were the subsea engineering solutions being developed by Aker Solutions to take gas-processing systems off the platforms and onto the seabed, and the potential for shipping with hubs Other countries then presented their status and needs, including South Africa, China, USA, Nigeria, Ghana, Korea, Mexico, and Australia. Information was also provided on the East Asian CCOP initiative and the CGS Baltic programme, both undertaking regional storage assessments. It was notable that although each country is in very different stages of pursuing offshore CCS, there are common interests.

Participants formed breakout groups to discuss issues around themes identified by the workshop, including technology transfer, infrastructure, moving from pilot to larger-scale projects, and regulations. This activity developed a list of recommendations on areas to be addressed and actions to be taken. Common issues were how to assess storage potential, and the many aspects of re-use of existing offshore infrastructure.

In a very brief form, the list of recommendations included:

  • International collaboration and funding mechanism for a demonstration project
  • Development of a test programme and pilot project for infrastructure developments.
  • Workshops and training on a range of topics including: on storage resource assessment, on funding sources for early stages of CCS resource assessment in developing countries, on platform infrastructure and transport infrastructure issues and developments, and on comparing specific aspects across projects such as environmental monitoring.
  • Assistance with access to existing key information sources, and a common language on storage.
  • Creation of an ‘Offshore Network’ or other means of continuing the momentum from this workshop.

The workshop concluded with demonstrations and posters of offshore work, including a demonstration of the P-cable monitoring system and its results from the Gulf of Mexico.

To note that the UNFCCC’s Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) supported attendees from Nigeria and Ghana, and this was possibly the first activity on CCS supported by CTCN. There was a lot of interest from all the developing country attendees in the CTCN (IEAGHG and The University of Texas are members of the Network).

A report of the meeting will be produced and the presentations made available. A follow-up up survey will review the benefits of the workshop and gather views on how best to take-forward recommendations and actions.

Many thanks to the Gulf Coast Carbon Centre at BEG for hosting, to the International Steering Committee, and to CSLF and CTCN for their support to delegates.

Overall, the enthusiasm from attendees suggested they considered the workshop a success. There was common recognition that there is a nexus of interests and needs converging in progressing CCS offshore, and that momentum was being created towards international collaboration not just in knowledge-sharing but towards pilot and demonstration projects

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