Carbon Capture and Storage at Work: Statoil Sleipner North Sea Project

Published: 11 Dec 2013
 

Carbon Capture and Storage at Work: Statoil Sleipner North Sea Project

Carbon capture has been used successfully by the petroleum industry for a half century to recover stranded oil. The Statoil Sleipner Project in the North Sea shows the promise of long-term geologic storage, with a million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured each year. 

Carbon capture has been used successfully by the petroleum industry for a half century to recover stranded oil. The Statoil Sleipner Project in the North Sea shows the promise of long-term geologic storage, with a million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured each year. 

Since natural gas produced from the Sleipner West field contains up to nine percent carbon dioxide,  which far exceeding export specifications,  Sleipner created a solution: separate the carbon dioxide offshore, and inject it into geological layers of porous sand rock filled with salt water, where it will remain for thousands of years.  

The project has stored carbon since 1996. To date, 3D seismic monitoring of the CO2 in the Formation shows no leakage into other horizons,  the carbon dioxide is contained under an 800-metre thick layer of gas-tight cap rock.   The Sleipner project has major future potential: It is estimated that the Utsira Formation is capable of storing an astonishing 600 billion tons of CO2.  

The successful capture and storage demonstrated at Sleipner has been groundbreaking in technical terms, and has provided the industry with considerable progress in geological storage of carbon dioxide. 

Importantly, that experience translates directly to similar CCS opportunities for coal-fueled power plants, which experts see as a low-carbon solution to effectively utilizing the world’s most abundant energy resource. For example, the European Commission states that the cost of achieving climate goals could be up to 40 percent higher without the use of CCS.  Carnegie Mellon reports that coal with CCS could be 15 to 50 percent less expensive than nuclear, wind or natural gas. 

Sleipner demonstrates that CCS technology can work, and it offers a compelling example of the benefits that can be realized by wide-scale deployment of CCS globally as it eventually matures and ultimately becomes commercially available at scale. 

 

Sources include: IEA Publication "Technology Roadmap: High-Efficiency, Low-Emissions Coal-Fired Power Generation" (2012), Massachusettes Institute of Technology website (sequstration.mit.edu), Statoil website (www.statoil.com)

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