In a world of Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases, Geologic CO2 Sequestration (GS) could play a major role in reducing CO2 emissions. GS is the capturing and permanently storing of CO2 in deep underground structures. In the United States alone there are enough underground structures to permanently store more than 1.3 trillion tons of CO2. That is equivalent to more than 330 years of the U.S. CO2 production!
There are four main storage options: depleted oil and gas fields, using the CO2 in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), deep saline aquifers, and unmineable coal seams. These structures have stored crude oil, natural gas, brine, and CO2 for millions of years. All four methods can be accomplished with the same infrastructure in certain geologic settings providing minimal environmental impact. Out of the four options, EOR and deep saline aquifers offer the most potential.
EOR offers the most economical GS method. Using the CO2 to enhance the production of an oil reservoir greatly offsets the high costs of capturing, transporting, and sequestering the CO2. CO2 can continue to be stored in the depleted reservoir even after secondary production has ceased. GS and EOR offer the possibility of removing significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere while producing significant oil reserves. For more information on EOR, please see CO2 EOR – Green Oil.
The deep saline aquifers in Michigan offer the largest possible GS storage method. Based on information provided to the US Department of Energy, Core Energy estimates that between 1.01-3.72 trillion tons or 266-977 years of CO2 production could be stored in these massive underground structures. The aquifers themselves are caverns or strata below ground that have no commercial value. The depth and understanding of cap rock seals are critical to the success of GS in saline aquifers, and the experience and knowledge base held by the oil and gas industry provide this understanding.
Core Energy is a member of the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Parternship (MRCSP) and hosted a Phase II demonstration and test for CO2 sequestration in a deep saline aquifer. This demonstration represents the largest deep saline injection test in the country to-date at 10,000 tons of CO2, and is the first deep saline injection test east of the Mississippi River. The preliminary results are promising and demonstrate scalability and repeatability in the Midwest Region.