The 11th meeting of the IEAGHG’s Monitoring Network and the 6th meeting of the Modelling Network took place in Edinburgh last week, as a combined meeting, hosted by BGS and SCCS.
These meetings bring together leading experts from research and industry to discuss the latest work and developments, with around 60 participants from 11 countries at this one.
The overall theme for this meeting was ‘using the modelling-monitoring loop to demonstrate storage performance more effectively’. Sessions included on monitoring induced seismicity, novel monitoring techniques, monitoring costs, near-surface natural variability, monitoring CO2-EOR, wellbore integrity issues, modelling environmental conditions, updates from ongoing and closed projects, lessons from other industries, modelling reservoirs and overburden, pressure measurements, and conformance in the monitoring modelling loop.
Key findings from advances in monitoring included the benefits, and some limitations, of the use of fibre-optic distributed acoustic sensors (DAS) from experiences in being deployed at projects, including helical configured cables to overcome the directional limitations. A topic of much discussion at previous meetings has been how to reduce the level (and cost) of monitoring for commercial-scale projects compared with the initial research-orientated projects. At this meeting we saw how this is now happening at Shell’s QUEST project in Alberta where they are able to streamline their initial MMV strategy without losing monitoring effectiveness, including the use of a new laser-based low-cost leakage detection technique over the well area. We also saw this principle go further with the MRV plan for Occidental’s CO2-EOR project.
In terms of leakage detection, much discussion centred around the temporal and spatial complexity of near-surface baselines and the implications for near-surface monitoring - its purpose, optimization and value to stakeholders, and hence the need for attribution methodologies to identify genuine leakage, with an example from Japan on a new ratio-based technique for doing this for offshore leakage and the suggestion that onshore, ratios representing biologic respiration could be broadly defined as the threshold for defining leakage.
In terms of modelling, the complexities and challenges of upscaling from pore to core to reservoir were discussed, highlighting the importance of the influence of heterogeneity in the reservoir. Modelling flow in wellbores was discussed with several examples showing that it can require a different modelling approach. The US DOE’s NRAP programme has produced 10 ‘tools’ for reduced-order modelling of different aspects of CO2 storage, these are being beta-tested at the moment and useful feedback was given in a dedicated session.
In terms of wellbore integrity, recent hydrocarbon exploration and storage leakage events are being assessed for any lessons that could be relevant for CO2 injection control, including modelling the complex interactions between wellbore and formations. Examples included a very interesting analysis of the recent Aliso Canyon natural gas leak in California.
More knowledge is being developed around migration and leakage in the overburden, and the CaMI controlled release site will be very useful. A detailed MMV plan, with international collaborators, has been devised for the site ahead of planned injection for later this year.
Based upon the presentations and detailed discussion, recommendations for further work were made, including on the testing of techniques and experience of CO2 well control, and on modelling of wellbore and near-wellbore events. Proposals were also made for more case studies on what conformance looks like in practice, and more work on models of dissolution processes.
Overall conclusions were that good progress is being made with learning from the demonstration and pilot projects in both monitoring and modelling which is then able to be shared with the international community at these meetings, and that there is progress in streamlining MMV at projects and reducing the costs of monitoring. We now have several sites demonstrating conformance of the modelling-monitoring loop, so that the understanding of conformance is becoming more mature.
BGS also organised a very interesting field trip that benefited from the diverse geology of the area, including the classic site of Hutton’s unconformity at Siccar Point.
Overall, an exciting meeting of many new developments, the main challenge being sufficient time for all the interesting discussions. A big thank you to Sarah Hannis and her colleagues at BGS, along with SCCS, for hosting the meeting. Many thanks to the main sponsor, UKCCSRC. Presentations will be available on the IEAGHG Networks’ webpages and a full report will be produced.
This year this annual CCUS Conference moved from its recent past location in Pittsburgh to Tysons Corner, Virginia (near Washington DC). Over three days, some 200 attendees listened to 65 presentations given in four parallel streams.
There was great interest in the two presentations were made on the Occidental MRV plan which had been approved by EPA (see IEAGHG Information Paper 2016/IP16). Al Collins of Occidental presented in plenary on this. He complimented the EPA on the performance-based and non-prescriptive nature of the GHG reporting rule Subpart RR, which allows monitoring technology developments to be adopted. Whilst relying a lot on the existing operational monitoring systems for oil production, applying Subpart RR to their project means additional focus on use and management of such operational data. Occidental chose to apply this rule on their operation in order to lead by example, and it sets a precedent on the level of detail and requirements for reporting GHG emissions from storage via a Class II well (oil operations). Subpart RR is also a requirement for Class VI wells (CO2 storage) and the requirements may differ, as well as being site specific of course. For European readers, Class VI is analogous to the role of the EU CCS Directive and Subpart RR is roughly analogous to the ETS monitoring and reporting guidelines for CCS. Also of interest is that Occidental intend to continue the oil operations long after the Subpart RR reporting period.
Julio Friedman (having left DOE to return to LLNL) gave an informative keynote on the Paris Agreement and its future implications for global markets and the energy mix. He pointed out that whilst coal use is flattening out the use of natural gas is increasing, meaning that emissions continue to grow if CCUS is not used. He also drew attention to concerns of Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) and other investors about the unburnable carbon issue, and the start of a growing realisation of the role of CCUS in being a solution.
Several technical presentations were given on the DOE-funded brine extraction pressure-management projects being developed, an area to follow with interest as these R&D projects become operational. Related to this, work on reservoir fluid assessment at the Rock Springs Uplift potential storage site in Wyoming showed for the very saline formation fluids the potential for using rare earth elements as tracers, and also the potential for economic recovery of elements of value from the brine.
The US DOE talked several times about the progress with their large-scale integrated projects: Kemper (operational Q3 2016); Port Arthur (operational); Petra Nova (operational from Q1 2017); and ADM (operational Q1 2017). John Litynski of DOE also talked of their capture R,D&D priorities being larger-scale demonstration of 2nd generation technologies by 2020, ‘transformational’ technology developments, BECCS, and capture from industrial sources such as cement, refineries and ethanol and natural gas processing.
IEAGHG gave a talk in the final plenary session on the Paris Agreement and CCUS, reinforcing some of Julio’s key points and highlighting where the IEAGHG technical programme is addressing specific topics which are becoming of greater interest because of the Paris Agreement, such as storage assessments and storage efficiency. In the margins there was healthy interest in how GHGT-13 in Lausanne was shaping up (very well thank you) now that authors had been informed of their abstract status.
Compliments to the new team at Exchange Monitor on maintaining an interesting conference at a new location.
The 49th bi-annual IEAGHG ExCo meeting has come to a close in the beautiful Norweigen city of Bergen. Hosted by Gassnova, the meeting began on the 10th May with a visit to the Technology Centre Mongstad. This centre is the world’s largest facility for testing and improving CO2 capture. Knowledge gained will prepare the ground for CO2 capture initiatives to combat climate change. TCM is a joint venture between the Norweigen state, Shell and Statoil.
Following on from this site visit, an exciting seminar was held titled ‘Milestone Mongstad 4’. An extremely interesting array of talks were presented and a very exciting announcement was made which confirmed that TCM and SINTEF had formalised their collaboration. An in-depth article for this announcement can be found here: www.tcmda.com/en/Press-center/News/2016/TCM-and-SINTEF-formalizes-CCS-collaboration . The seminar was rounded off with a fabulous dinner, which allowed the delegates that had attended to discuss everything they had heard and learnt that day.
The two day IEAGHG Executive Committee meeting itself began on Wednesday 11th May and was held in the excellent Scandic Neptun hotel. This regular meeting is held twice yearly, at different locations across the world each time, and gives IEAGHG an opportunity to provide our Members and Sponsors with programme progress, an update of recently completed and on-going activities and to approve any future work to be undertaken. It also gives our Members a chance to report back to the Programme on their activities over the last 6 months and any activities planned for the near future.
The Programme’s ExCo Members were given an overview of recent activities such as the recently completed Costs to CO2-EOR study and Fault Permeability amongst others. Recent and upcoming events were reported on too – these included the extremely important side-event which was held at COP-21, feedback from our LCA workshop, an update on our Summer School (both 2015 feedback and also 2016 progress) and of course, the ever-popular, outstanding GHGT conference which will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland 14th-18th November 2016
Members agreed to take forward 3 new studies this year plus a set of guidelines – so do stay tuned to see the progress in these various areas; more details will come soon.
The ExCo dinner at this meeting was held in the elegant restaurant of the Scandic hotel. Members were all very eager to discuss the outcomes of the first day and to have a chance to relax and enjoy the Bergen setting.
A full-length article on the 49th IEAGHG ExCo meeting will be available in the upcoming June edition of the IEAGHG Greenhouse News.
With thanks to the Gulf Coast Carbon Center for this article
The Gulf Coast Carbon Center was delighted to host the first International Workshop on Offshore Geologic CO2 Storage. GCCC's Katherine Romanak was instrumental in organizing the workshop with IEAGHG's Tim Dixon, who is currently an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at BEG.
Dixon emphasized the value of bringing together an international contingent to discuss carbon storage in offshore reservoirs. "Over 50 experts from 13 countries came together in a common recognition that there is a nexus of interests and needs converging in progressing CCS offshore, and that momentum is being created towards international collaborations not just in knowledge-sharing but towards pilot and demonstration projects."
The workshop evolved as an outgrowth of BEG's interaction with the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum and IEAGHG. In addition, Tony Surridge from the South African National Energy Development Institute was a co-host.
The workshop made a notable historical mark as the first carbon sequestration-related effort to take advantage of the new financial instruments provided by the United Nation's Climate Technology Centre & Network, which provided Funding for Joseph Essandoh-Yeddu from Ghana and Felicia Mogo from Nigeria to attend.
The aim of the workshop was to develop the first global needs assessment for offshore carbon storage. Its goals included initiating a discussion about the various aspects of offshore transport and storage; building an international community of parties interested in offshore storage; and facilitating countries to identify their specific issues, challenges, and opportunities.
Topics of interest identified by the attendees included transitioning from pilot project to full-scale deployment; funding and finance; accelerating knowledge and technology transfer; regulatory development; infrastructure; and public engagement. Participants identified and defined synergies, common gaps, and goals in each of these areas, and action items, including future workshops and potential projects, were developed.
Summarizing the importance of the workshop, GCCC's Tip Meckel explained, "This is the first time that we've ever had so much international diversity and experience all sitting down with the common goal of figuring out how we can collaborate to make offshore CCS work. You can either dip your toe into the offshore or take a deep dive. This was a deep dive."
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
I was honoured to be invited to give the opening keynote at the UKCCSRC Biannual Meeting in Manchester on 13 April (talking on COP-21 and CCS). It was especially rewarding to see the UKCCSRC’s Call 1 and Call 2 projects now producing results and I was sorry to only be able to attend the first day.
Howard Hertzog presented a plenary talk reviewing international experiences of financing CCS demonstration projects, and Alissa Cotton of Shell gave a plenary talk to update on the QUEST project in Alberta, now that it is up to 500,000t CO2 injected. All is going well with that project, and of particular note were their reflections and lessons learnt, so that they estimate a 20-30% cost reduction in construction of any subsequent similar project. So another large-scale project highlighting the cost benefits of learning-by-doing.
Also presented in plenary was some UK work on BECCS (ie BioCCS). Several presenters calling for more scrutiny of BECCS given its contribution in IPCC AR5 in that 100 of the 116 IPCC scenarios rely on BECCS. Also of note was the GHG LCA applied to the Drax CCS project with three units running on biomass, showing an 80% reduction in GHG from harvest to use. UKCCSRC are planning dedicated workshops on BECCS later this year.
It was good to see the nanoseismic monitoring project of Strathclyde University now getting data from the Aquistore project’s injection of CO2, although early days yet in its interpretation. The overall seismic monitoring from the extensive permanent arrays will produce a lot of data from that CO2 injection associated with the Boundary Dam project. Many posters were presented on the other projects, including on the Value of CCS Flexibility study which IEAGHG are involved in. This shows that the cross-interaction of CCS with intermittent renewable capacity is decisive to achieving total system cost reduction in electricity production. With integrated CCS and renewable technologies they were are able to achieve a low-carbon and lower-cost future electricity system.
The event was well attended, reflecting the healthy level of research activity run by the UKCCSRC, which also gains and benefits from international collaboration. For more information, including the ppts, see the UKCCSRC website.
If ever we needed proof that the CCS Community are a hardy bunch, this seems to have come in the shape of the 1,017 abstracts submitted to the GHGT-13 conference. Despite the news late last year of the cancellation of the UK competition which could potentially have seen many hang up their hats, it seems the technical community has become used the to the turbulent ride that is getting CCS to deployment. Just days after the UK announcement, Paris and COP21 brought hope once again that CCS will have a place in the low carbon future and it is as a result of the work done by this community that this will be possible.
The Steering Committee for GHGT-13 are extremely humbled by the support, resilience and determination of the authors submitting to the conference and are looking forward to hosting the conference where academia, industry and policy makers all meet with the sole purpose of progressing this technology. No other conference has the breadth of subjects and expertise on display that GHGT is able to accommodate making it the one stop shop for getting up to speed with the latest projects, newest developments both in the laboratory and the field and the latest legislation and regulations for ensuring CCS can make a significant contribution to the greenhouse gas mitigation pool of technologies.
With a growing number of sponsors pledging their support for the conference and the endorsement from the submitting authors, GHGT-13 has much to offer delegates, exhibitors and the CCS Community as a whole. With information dissemination and networking as core values it promises to be an informative, invigorating conference and for those of you who have never been to a GHGT conference, bring comfy shoes, it is also an intense week where much can be learnt, contacts and new working partnerships made and we get to remember why we are doing all of this.
How has your country done? Below is the remarkable spread of countries we have received abstracts from – welcoming Turkey and Iceland as first time submitters but how has your country done, is it a world leader or pioneer for the smaller more surprising nations?
16th – 17th December, 2015, Athens
The 2nd International Forum on Recent Developments of CCS, held between 16th and 17th December in Athens, brought together pan European expertise from SINTEF in Norway, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and BRG from Germany, University of Leeds, Warwick, and Imperial College from the UK, OCAS, from Belgium, the Dutch research institute, TNO, the University of Zaragoza and CIUDEN from Spain, NCSR Demokritos from Greece plus representatives from USA, China and IEAGHG. The two day meeting covered recent research supported by EC 7th Framework under the CO2QUEST and IMPACTS programmes.
Theme of the meeting was the impact of impurities in CO2 across the entire CCS chain from capture and transport to storage. There were a series of presentations on the thermodynamic properties of CO2 with varying levels of impurities which clearly highlighted that small amounts of impurities can have a big impact on operational conditions. The gases of interest include N2, O2, Ar, CH4, H2O, CO, H2, SO2. The composition of impurities, and their concentration, can influence viscosity and pressure which are key parameters for the design and operation of pipelines. Much of the research under the IMPACTS Programme has focussed on the development of modelling CO2 mixtures and subsequent verification from experimental data. Pipeline specifications have also been tested by conducting fracture propagation tests at different scales including external field-scale tests in UK and China. Rupture experiments measured the impact of high pressure releases providing valuable experimental data on the pattern of gas release and rate of fracture propagation. The refinement of model prediction is fundamental for design parameters especially safety. Experiments are also an important technique to observe atmospheric dispersion of gas clouds.
The meeting concluded with a brief review of CO2 mixtures on storage conditions. The presence of SO2 as well as CO2 can form acidic conditions in the presence of water. Calcium rich minerals can be dissolved altering porosity, but sulphate minerals such an anhydrite can be precipitated. Modelling suggests long term impacts are very limited at low SO2 concentrations, but cement mineralogy in wellbores can be altered. More research is necessary and field tests are planned.
The meeting has successfully highlighted the significance of impurities across the CCS chain and provided some guidance on the thresholds for impurities in CO2 streams. IEAGHG has an active and ongoing interest in the impact of impurities. A recent study on flexible operation entitled “Operational Flexibility of CO2 Transport and Storage”, as well as previous research, has investigated the how impurities affect transport and storage.
The general feeling around COP21 at the close of Day 7 was that there would be a text by the end of the week. What the text will contain is very much open to conjecture.
The small island states have led the charge for agreement that calls for a target of 1.50C rather than 20C. This call have been picked by many environmental NGO’s who see it as a route to phase out all fossil fuel use. Although it seems “coal” is enemy number 1, and one NGO was promoting the phase out of coal from the energy mix by 2020.
CCS got mentioned in two sessions that I attended yesterday, first by Saudi Arabia in a session Chaired by Ernie Moniz, Secretary of State for Energy, USA on the activities of the Clean Energy Ministerial. The second in a press announcement of the Innovation Action, where Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, was talking about the role of fossil fuels in the 2DS and made the comment that CCS was needed to use fossil fuels in an environmentally friendly manner. Of course this brought a comment from an NGO in the question session, that CCS was unproven and too costly!!!
Clean Energy Innovation is the new buzz word it seems. We got a little more information on the topic from the press release; the 20 countries that have committed to increase their R&D spending in this area over the next 5 years, will choose the technologies of their choice, but it is hoped that there will be more pairing and sharing and knowledge transfer between them. There was also discussion of joint road mapping, the benefits of road maps I am always sceptical of. As the IEA is heavily committed to this, we should watch this space for any impact it might have on activities like our own.
Another area where the IEA is making noise is on fossil fuel subsidies, Fatih BIrol made a statement that we need to phase out the $500 billion subsidies that currently go to fossil fuels around the globe. The benefits are multiple; reduced greenhouse gases, reduced air pollution, increased government revenue, which could be used to invest in health care, renewable energy, mass transit and other public services.
There were two CCS specific sessions on Tuesday, one related to the North Sea by Bellona and one on financing CCS in developing countries by GCCSI, the former had some 20 attended the latter 60. Many of the attendees at both are from the “CCS Community” and I have reflected if these sessions are too deep for Developing Country delegates, who are looking for more basic information at this stage.
Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP’s) was the subject of a Focus Event led by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). The consensus now is that it is very important to deal with both CO2 as well as SCLP’s and that dealing with SLCPs makes it easier for us to stay inside the 2°C limit. The added benefit is according to the World Health Organisation, reducing SLCP’s can prevent approximately 3 million premature deaths a year. Key commitments made include:
- Reducing Hydrofluorocarbons HFC’s by 30 to 50% from refrigerant servicing within 10 years
- A Green Freight Action Plan to fight black carbon and fine particle pollutants
- Over 50 cities to reduce methane emissions from municipal solid waste
Yesterday saw the main UNFCCC Side-event on CCS, organised by IEAGHG, University of Texas, CCSA and CO2GeoNet. The event was titled “Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Achievements and Opportunities for Developing Country Involvement”. The event was very well attended, with around 200 attendees, many from developing countries, and various media.
After scene-setting by myself, Philip Ringrose of Statoil presented on 19 years of operations in the North Sea region, which appeared to be impressive news to some that CCS had been in operation so long. Ton Wildenborg of CO2GeoNet presented on EU pilot projects which have collectively demonstrated the safety of storage. We were privileged to have The Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, Canada, provide a politicians perspective and to introduce Mike Marsh President of Saskpower to talk about the first year of operation at Boundary Dam. This included their global knowledge centre which is going to be launched and will be supported by BHP Billiton. This will be a new international research centre based around SaskPower’s facilities and experiences with capture at Boundary Dam and storage at Aquistore, and which will be open to international participation. Katherine Romanak of University of Texas BEG presented on new collaboration opportunities in offshore storage, referring to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s recent report, and sa planned international workshop to share knowledge between “those who do and those who are interested in doing”. The event concluded with a talk on the Climate Technology Centre and Network, a funding source for technology transfer and capacity building in developing countries, by its Director Jukka Uosukainen.
The excellent quantity and quality of questions that followed demonstrated the high level of interest and positive engagement in the event and the topics, such that discussions had to continue after the event outside the room, with panel members also being interviewed by various media. Not surprisingly, questions was asked and concerns were expressed around the UK government’s recent policy change on the CCS Competition.
Overall, I think that the Side-event achieved its objectives of communicating the messages that CCS projects have successfully operated for many years, from small pilot-scale projects to large-scale such as at Boundary Dam, and new opportunities are becoming available to share this knowledge and these experiences, such as through SaskPower’s new global knowledge centre and in offshore storage.
Reporting of the event at COP by IISD can be seen at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop21/enbots/1dec.html#event-6 , and the ppts are available on the UNFCCC Side-event website at https://seors.unfccc.int/seors/reports/events_list.html?session_id=COP21 (see Tuesday 1 December 15:00).
In addition, the exhibit booth on CCS, run jointly by University of Texas, CO2GeoNet, CCSA and IEAGHG, was proving very busy, with a continuous flow of COP delegates seeking a range of information on CCS. IEAGHG are using it in particular to promote the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control Special Issue and the new report on Boundary Dam.
Elsewhere in the COP, the main negotiations started yesterday. Good luck to all involved.
(photos' courtesy of UKCCSRC)