The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has agreed a licence with The Crown Estate and the British Geological Survey (BGS) to host and further develop its £3.8m UK CO2 Storage Appraisal project into an online database.
The web-enabled database — claimed to be the first of its type in the world — contains the geological data, storage estimates, risk assessments and economics of nearly 600 potential CO2 storage units of depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers around the UK.
The UK is potentially well served with offshore CO2 storage. Although various estimates have been made of the total amount available, these figures vary widely.
According to a statement, the new database will enable interested stakeholders to access information about the storage resource and to make more informed decisions related to the roll-out of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK.
With data collection complete and the licence agreement in place, the database will go live in early 2013. As part of the licence agreement, The Crown Estate and the BGS have together committed £1m to further develop the content of the database and to provide users with a dedicated hosting service.
Andrew Green, CCS programme manager at the ETI, said: ‘Our modelling work has shown there is huge potential and a strong argument for CCS to be a core component of the UK’s future energy mix.
‘The aim of this project has been to provide a more accurate picture of how much storage space is practically available around the UK shores. While a lot of focus is currently on the build and demonstration of CCS plant, the availability of sufficient high-quality storage capacity is crucial to the large-scale roll-out of CCS in the UK.
‘We are pleased to announce this agreement with The Crown Estate and the BGS and look forward to working with them to make available and develop what will become a major national asset for the UK.’
Dr Ward Goldthorpe, programme manager for CCS and gas storage at The Crown Estate, said: ‘The Crown Estate owns the CO2 storage rights on the UK Continental Shelf and is committed to advancing the assessment and management of the offshore storage resource.
‘Our intention is to ensure the database remains a current and authoritative system so that researchers, industry and other interested stakeholders can access the best available knowledge of storage potential. The database will also help to guide The Crown Estate’s management of future CO2 pipeline and storage leasing activities in conjunction with our spatial planning of low-carbon energy infrastructure on the UK Continental Shelf.’
Prof Mike Stephenson of BGS added: ‘BGS has more than 20 years’ experience in CCS and will use this expertise to develop and enhance this national resource. In the first year, we will update the database so it can be used and viewed online more easily.
‘Then over the following four years we will improve the content and functionality. We will be seeking views and feedback from both users and stakeholders as the project progresses. These might include enhancement of the underlying geological data and geomechanical models; building in integrated information to help inform economic assessments of CCS proposals; and development of spatial management aids to help CO2 emitters make useful links to prospective store locations.’