This blog was a collaborative effort from ECRs who used to ECR Meeting Fund to attend the Storage and Monitoring CPD Couse at the Cranfield Biannual. Contributors to this blog were: Ponfa Roy Bitrus, Rebecca Cunningham, Maria erans Moreno, Kumail Haider, Dawid Hanak, Michal Jeremias, Toluwanimi Kolawole, Ebuwa Osagie, Nejat Rahmanian, Mihaela Stevar, Kejun Wu.

Monday 20th April 2015

Mihaela Stevar (Imperial College London)
“Introduction to CO2 Storage” – Michelle Bentham – BGS
The UKCCSRC CPD Course on CO2 Storage and Monitoring took place at Cranfield University immediately before the Centre’s biannual meeting. After a brief introduction given by Michael Edwards from the Centre and Andy Chadwick from BGS, the first lecture was given by Michelle Bentham from BGS, who provided a general introduction to CO2 Storage.

In her talk, Michelle first introduced the potential contribution of CCS to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions together with a range of other options that would need to be deployed for worldwide carbon mitigation. Next, she focused on storage and emphasized the main characteristics of a good geological storage site followed by a detailed description of both oil and gas fields and saline aquifers. .

The following part of Michelle’s talk covered in detail the injection of CO2, trapping mechanisms and the processes that take place within the reservoir. Next, she briefly mentioned the tools available to determine the fate of CO2 within the reservoir and concluded by mentioning that “CCS is a potential bridging technology between fossil fuels and low carbon energy supplies” and by highlighting the UK’s potential for storage.

 I particularly enjoyed this talk and found it very appropriate to set the scene for all subsequent talks, which focused on particulars of certain storage sites, reservoir simulation, monitoring and environmental impact of CO2 storage.

Kumail Haider 
“North Sea and Global Comparisons of CO2 Storage” – Stuart Gilfillan – University of Edinburgh
I would like to thank the UKCCSRC for their financial assistance to attend the CPD course.


The overall CPD course was invaluable for my further learning and career development. As I am an ECR coming from a carbon capture background, the opportunity to learn and network from academics and professionals in the monitoring and storage field was incredibly important. I feel I have strengthened my general understanding, and learnt a great deal about the specific modelling, monitoring techniques as well as been kept up to date with large scale CCS projects and their current status. 

I particularly enjoyed Stuart Gilfillan’s presentation, which compared global CO2 injection sites. Discussions involving the required storage to meet 2050 targets were particularly poignant, and I soon understood the challenges associated with siting and selecting specific injection sites in-terms of geological formations, development and long term modelling of stability. Specifically, the realisations of current public perceptions of CCS seem to push CCS to offshore sites. It was interesting to find out pressure build-up mitigation strategies in wells. The oil and gas industry’s influence seems to be a major driver, coupled with enhanced oil recovery.

I would strongly recommend anyone who wishes to broaden their knowledge of the storage and monitoring aspects of CCS to attend this CPD in the future. I networked and learnt a great dea, and as always was stuffed after a lovely networking dinner.

Dawid Hanak (Cranfield University)
“North Sea and Global Comparisons of CO2 Storage” – Stuart Gilfillan – University of Edinburgh
After an overview of CO2 storage fundamentals by Michelle Bentham (BGS), the presentation given by Stuart Gilfillan (University of Edinburgh) provided a comparison of the North Sea and Global capabilities for CO2 storage.

First key message from Stuart’s talk was that to decarbonise power sector we need a portfolio of ALL technologies, which IEA has identified as capable of reducing the greenhouse gas emission by 2050, and not just one or two of them. The second key message that was passed to us was that there is a lot of storage space available globally, which, theoretically speaking, should assure more than 200 years of CO2 storage. We were told that the storage capacity in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Queensland, and North Sea (Norwegian and UK together) together is more than 2,735 GtCO2. It needs to be highlighted, however, that this is so-called static capacity which may not be achievable in practice due to pressure build up and CO2 leakage. Of these two limitations, a pressure build-up seems to be a critical challenge that needs to be considered, what was proven in the observations in Snøhvit. In this project a high build-up of pressure led to injection shut down after 2 years. Nevertheless, Stuart claimed that the IEA target of 8 Gt of CO2 stored by 2050 should be easily achievable.

Third key message from this presentation was that we need to know how much of CO2 is trapped after a certain time. In this talk, Stuart showed us that 13 to 65% of the injected CO2 can be trapped through residual saturation mechanism. Moreover, when EOR is concerned, around 30-50% of CO2 injected is lost in each cycle.  An important benefit of EOR over the geological storage was also mentioned, namely EOR can generate revenue and hence accelerate deployment of CCS. Another benefit of EOR is that it can help to develop the follow on projects that could then form clusters for CO2 transport and storage. Finally, EOR can provide learning by doing expertise that can be then used in other CCS applications.

Doing my research in the field of CO2 capture, I found this CPD course extremely useful, as it allowed me to see the CCS in the bigger picture and appreciate the challenges that need to be resolved in the whole CCS chain . Moreover, it was a great networking event where I have met exceptional people whose aims are the same – to make CCS viable and to save our environment! 

Maria Erans Moreno
“The Peterhead FEED Project and the Goldeneye Reservoir” – John Marshall – Shell
The third lecture of the first day was brought by John Marshall of Shell. It was about the Peterhead project, one of the two major demonstration CCS plants that the UK government is funding in order to prove that CCS works at commercial scale.


The project is now in the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) which is expected to finish later this year. The plant aims to capture up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the Peterhead power station in Aberdeenshire, transported by pipeline (existing for the gas reservoir) and stored at approximately 100 km offshore in the Goldeneye reservoir ( a depleted gas reservoir) at a depth of more than 2 km under the floor of the North Sea.

After that, a more in-depth talk about the project was given mentioning the novelty of this project being the first full-chain gas CCS project worldwide. The capture technology to be used in Peterhead is amine scrubbing, and its service life is expected to be between 10 and 15 years.

This introductory talk was very interesting due to the size of the project and the differences with the Boundary Dam project which is in a coal-fired power plant.

Then, the lecture focused in the Goldeneye reservoir, giving us an overview of important parameters in carbon dioxide storage such as pressure, a more detailed view of this reservoir, the monitoring that would need to take place once the CO2 is stored and the modelling being carried out by Shell engineers to predict how the CO2 would behave during the injection.

The talk was overall very informative for people that are not working in storage part of CCS but also for people who are working in this area due to the scale of this project and the different findings that the engineers are developing.

Michal Jeremias
“Humber Area CCS – the 5/42 Storage Site” – Steve Furnival – National Grid
The lecture informed us about the Humber Area Project which aims at connecting large point source emitters in Yorkshire & Humberside with large sinks in UK SNS. The 5/42 storage site was selected because it is big, deep enough, close to shore, there are few existing penetrations, there is good seismic coverage with no faults seen and there is little or no existing H/C infrastructure. The lecture covered the description of the 5/42 depth surface, stratigraphic sequence and shallow seismics. The need for pre-drill was explained from the viewpoint of knowledge and data acquisition. The methodology for data acquisition was explained and the effect on the gained knowledge was evaluated. Steve Furnival concluded that regional studies show saline aquifers very suitable for large scale CCS, 5/42 is big, close to emitters & has right properties, data analysed to date confirm initial thinking, the analysis of the gained data continues, and the subsequent project phases are underway.
Rebecca Cunningham
“Monitoring at the Aquistore CO2 Storage Site – Doug Angus – University of Leeds
This presentation focussed on Aquistore, an independent research and monitoring project located in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. Aquistor is the first commercial post-combustion CO2 capture, transport and storage facility from a coal-fired power plant. Aquistore is connected to SaskPower CCS Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Project offers a world first of its kind facility.

Aquistore involves a collaboration between a range of research partners, and is headed by a Science and Engineering Research Committee (SERC), formed to provide advice and oversight to the project and consists of Dr. Chris Hawkes (University of Saskatchewan), Dr. Rick Chalaturnyk (University of Alberta), Dr. Don White (Geological Survey of Canada), Dr. Ben Rostron (University of Alberta) and Dr. Jim Sorensen. A range of other research centres worldwide are involved in various elements of the Aquistore project.

The Aquistore Project commenced in September 2011, with various site funding agreements taking place. To date, a variety of site characterisation and baseline surveys have taken place, including the insertion of a permanent & Baseline 3D seismic, the drilling of an injection well, groundwater, soil gas and passive seismic tests, H2O injection tests of the well, to ensure its integrity. GPS Tiltmeters, InSAR, Piezometers, the drilling of an observation well, and cross well seismic among others. CO2 injection is currently taking place in early 2015.

Aquistore is aiming to inject at depth of 3.2km and the site has an average 6% porosity. These properties make this site particularly suitable for long term CO2 storage.

Theoretically Aquistore could inhale up to 2,000 tones of CO2 per day, however due to the interface with Sasks Power the business model for the plant, this will not practically take place. Along with CCS and the storage of CO2 in the Aquistore, Sasks Power sells much of the captured carbon for Enhanced Oil Recovery projects both within Canada and down to the USA

As the focus of this presentation was on various monitoring and storage practices undertaken at Aquistore, I will share with you just a couple of these methods that I found particularly interesting:

  • The Aquistore has a Permanent Seismic Array  (see image before for visual illustration). The Permanent Seismic Array is an active source for passive monitoring. It consists of a larger square than is conventional for 3D seismic array. The size of this array is in the order of 2.5 x 2.5km with 630 geophones installed at 20m below the surface and packed in Kaolinite.

  • Both vibrator trucks and dynamite are used as signal sources for this seismic work.

  • For the base line, 260 shots of 1 kg dynamite at 15 m depth.

  • In addition to the Permanent Array, the is also an Acoustic SM Fibre Recording (DAS Raw). This fibre recording is equivalent to 2700 geophones – put simply, there is a lot of information being collected from the site for intensive monitoring processes.

  • When it comes to monitoring of this site, there are a range of methods undertaken, a few of which mentioned above. The main challenge ahead is to integrate the observed data with the simulation models, to uncover which monitoring methods may be the most effective, the most affordable, the most extensive. For more information about the SaskPower world first Post-Combustion Coal-fired CCS Facility, please visit

For more information regarding Aquistore please visit

Many thanks to Associate Professor of Seismic Geomechanics at the University of Leeds, Dr Doug Angus for offering such an extensive overview of Aquistore.

Toluwanimi Kolawole & Kejun Wu (Newcastle University)
Susan Fellow – CMG Europe Ltd – “Basics Concepts in CO2 Reservoir Simulation”
Susan Fellows from CMGL (Europe) Ltd presented a quite interesting talk on CO2 reservoir simulation. This presentation gave a very simple yet in depth introduction to CO2 reservoir simulation. Although our research is focused on the CO2 capture with rotating packed bed, the presentation was very helpful in getting some knowledge on CO2 storage.The presentation started by giving some simple definitions of essential concepts to understand such as the differences between CO2 storage and CO2 EOR. It also gave a brief history of reservoir simulation and various simulation products used for simulating. The physics, mechanisms, considerations and design objectives for CO2 storage and EOR were discussed also in her talk.

Basically, carbon storage technology implemented on a commercial scale would drive a significant reduction in carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and combining carbon storage with enhanced oil recovery techniques in key fields could generate a large amount of extra economic output.

There are currently two possible uses for captured CO2 which are for storage and enhanced oil recovery. For CO2 storage, the carbon dioxide is pumped down into the earth to be trapped and remain permanently there while for EOR, the CO2 is used to enhance the productivity of oil wells to keep producing. For CO2 storage to be successful, the rock cap integrity is very important. Lastly, to understand the potential for both enhanced oil recovery and storage of CO2 in oil reservoirs over a wide range of conditions, the simulation method was the main tool to investigate this combined process. It helps to inspect the impact of different factors and corresponding uncertainties affecting the whole process and guides CCS implementations by providing related information.

“CPD dinner – Ye Old Swan, Newport Road”

The dinner was held at the Ye Old Swan restaurant tucked away in the countryside. The bus took longer than anticipated but finally arrived with all participants hungry and rearing to dig into the meal.

Tuesday 21st April

Nejat Rahmanian
Eric Mackay – Heriot-Watt University – “Injectivity challenges and opportunities”
The lecture was designed very well to target audiences who have basic knowledge and background on petroleum engineering.  This was an informative and an impressive lecturer on CCS and the learning outcomes were:
  • To understand concept of CO2 injectivity in subsurface formations and the factors which ordinarily increase or decrease the total injection mass.

  • To be more familiar with geomechanical issues such as over-injection leading to rock failure

  • To gain knowledge of geochemical issues arising from CO2 injection in highly saline aquifers

  • To improve understanding on Water Alternating CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery

The challenges and opportunities in engineering and for R&D were also explained. A number of case studies for CCS in offshore were presented. In summary, it is found that the total mass of CO2 that can be injected is decreased if there is a restriction to the accessible volume of the system or  if there is a risk of cap rock failure or if there is halite precipitation. CO2 WAG may cause dissolution of carbonates minerals around injection wells. Water extraction can significantly increase storage capacity. CO2 injection may be used to support hydrocarbon production directly (sweep) or remotely (pressure support).

Ponfa Roy Bitrus
Andy Chadwick – BGS – “Cost-effective Offshore Monitoring”
CCS is not a profit making activity and has only one purpose which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions thus to make it viable, cost has to be reduced as much as possible. Thus an introduction was given into the two major European CO2 offshore storage monitoring requirements which include; “Conformance Assurance” and “Containment Assurance” defining both and giving the pros and cons of required monitoring effort to be applied to a depleted field and an aquifer in the North sea for CO2 storage. Examples where sited from Sleipner and SnØhvit.

Different monitoring options (stationary and mobile) are being deployed to detect emissions with the implementation of new cost effective surveillance MMV of CO2 that can be deployed over large areas being implemented by energy technologies institute with also a number of proven technologies such as pressure measurement and TL seismics likely to be deployed for CO2 storage monitoring can all contribute to a cost effective monitoring for injected CO2.

Ebuwa Osagie and Toluwanimi Kolawole
Jerry Blackford – PML – “Environmental Impacts of CO2 Storage”
The content of this presentation was focused on discussing potential environmental impact from extreme scenario that may likely occur from CO2 storage failure. The environmental impact study conducted at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory focused their study on the marine environment. This was because CO2 storage sites within Europe are mostly offshore.

The scope of the study was to consider impact issues in shallow sediments and water columns surrounding potential failure sites and the fate of CO2 that may escape in a potential failure site

The objectives of the study were broadly classified as:

  • Determining the plausible CO2 leakage scenarios

  • The degree of potential CO2 leakage footprint 

  • The persistence of leaked CO2and associated chemicals

Carbon dioxide reacts with water to form various species in the aqueous phase such as bicarbonates, carbonic acid and other ions in solution. It has been shown that over medium to long scale, carbonate chemistry is very stable. However, the marine ecosystems in the oceans have evolved in narrow ph ranges and marine organisms are very sensitive to changes outside this pH ranges. Therefore, massive leakage of CO2 will result in changes in their ecosystem leading to various biological stresses for these organisms.

In the experiment conducted, pure stream of CO2  was released in plumes  into an experimental water body for a period of over one month using pipes. The effects on the marine ecosystem and marine organisms were then studied

An interesting part of the presentation for me was how organisms engage in resource allocation depending on environmental constraints. The presenter explained that in the event of disruption in ph of the natural marine environment of these organisms due to large CO2 leakages higher CO2 will lead to allocation of resources to more important key functions such as maintenance and survival rather than to growth and reproductions. this will result in worse growth performance of these organisms and rapid decline in their numbers due to reduced reproductivity.

Furthermore, one of the crucial processes that marine organisms engage is the process of calcification through which they make shells and other types of exoskeletons. The increase in the concentration of carbonates in the marine environment has a negative impact on the ability of some sea organisms from making their shells. In the study the PML group conducted, they found out that non calcifiers are least affected compared to calcifiers when the there is higher CO2 in the environment. The more advanced calcifiers such as crustaceans and molluscs were less affected than algaes and corals which were most severely affected.

Despite these, higher CO2 could also be advantageous to the growth of some species such as Cyanobacteria.

Their study showed a large variation in the response of various organisms to the increase of CO2. They also observed that marine ecosystem was usually able to deal with changes in pH within 3 weeks period. The also observed that ocean mixing played a key role in enabling the buffering mechanism of the marine system and also achieved the dispersal of the released CO2 over wider distances.

Future work of the project would be to study the long term effect of higher CO2  content in marine environments as the study carried out was for a short period of time.