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A methodological guide for the assessment of CO2 storage sites - SiteChar Closing Conference

December 2013

A methodological guide for the assessment of CO2  storage sites, incorporating all the technical and economic data as well as the social dimension, provides a valuable tool for the roll-out of geological storage of CO2  on an industrial scale in Europe

On November 28th, 2013 in Rueil-Malmaison (France), the Closing Conference of the European SiteChar project, dedicated to improving the characterization of sites for the geological storage of CO2 , was held at IFP Energies nouvelles (France). This event was hailed as a success having attracted significant interest and contribution from the wider community of stakeholders.

Coordinated by IFP Energies nouvelles, experts from academia, industry and government from 17 organisations in 9 EU countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom) have gathered their experience and skills in the collaborative SiteChar project. The objective was to supply a methodological guide adapted to European geological contexts and European legislation for use by storage site operators and regulatory bodies. The project, launched in January 2011, was supported by the European Commission, Enel, PGNiG, Statoil, Vattenfall, Veolia Environnement, the Scottish Government and Gassnova.

The SiteChar research focused on five potential European storage sites, representative of the various geological contexts, as test sites for the research work:

  • a North Sea multi-store site (hydrocarbon field and aquifer) offshore Scotland,
  • an onshore aquifer in Denmark,
  • an onshore gas field in Poland,
  • an offshore aquifer in Norway,
  • an aquifer in the Southern Adriatic Sea.

At the Danish and Scottish sites, dry-run storage permit applications have been developed on the basis of criteria defined by the relevant European legislation and evaluated by a group of independent experts. The studies conducted at the other sites have investigated some specific barriers related to the site characterization methodology. SiteChar has considered the important aspect of the public awareness and public opinions of these new technologies in addition to technical problems.

Lessons learned from the SiteChar project, and the resulting transferable knowledge, inform assessment and permitting needs for CO2 storage sites in Europe. These sites could be developed for the secure and permanent containment of millions of tonnes of CO2 captured from power plants and industrial facilities. Crucially, the knowledge gained will help operators and researchers to conduct a proper assessment of potential CO2 storage sites aiming at demonstrating safe and permanent storage.  Results will feed into the development of regulatory frameworks for the CO2 geological storage considered as a critical component in a portfolio of low-carbon energy technologies.

 Dr Florence Delprat-Jannaud , of IFPEN and coordinator of the SiteChar project, said: "SiteChar provides a unique opportunity to test and improve the process of site characterisation so that it is both fit for purpose and meets the challenge of gaining a storage permit.”

 François Kalaydjian , IFPEN, said: "In some extent SiteChar has been able to supplement the lack of industrial demonstrations by delivering both technical and social related results that should enable to optimize and better shape the future CCS industrial projects. SiteChar is certainly a major contribution to the implementation of CO  2  storage and should help kick starting CCS industrial activities when the market conditions will be met.”

 Stuart McKay , Scottish Government, said: “We were pleased to be part of the SiteChar project and believe that the information gathered in SiteChar’s outreach exercises to communities in Poland and in Scotland, provides important and very useful insights into public perceptions and public awareness of CCS. Likewise the geotechnical information and modelling data generated through the SiteChar project will be of great interest to Government’s, public bodies, regulators and industry.”

 Rune Thorsen (Statoil) said : "Agreement of acceptance criteria between the operators and the Competent Authority, as recommended by SiteChar, are essential to build trust and promote development of a CO2 storage project."

 Lionel Perrette , French Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and Energy said: ” During the development of exploration permits and storage permits, the operator, the Competent Authority and the citizens learn about each other and learn about the project. The way this process has been addressed in SiteChar is an illustration of how to gain the required confidence.”

 Camillia Skriung , Zero, said: ”It is crucial when introducing any new project to be transparent and have open dialogue, as well as to develop a project in a democratic way, as advocated in SiteChar.”

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Notes to editors:
  The organizations conducting the research in SiteChar are: AGH, ECN, ENEL, IFPEN, GEUS, GFZ, IMPERIAL, NERC, OGS, PGNiG, Statoil, TNO, SINTEF-PR, UniRoma1-CERI, UfU, Vattenfall and the Scottish Government

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