The potential to increase imports of hydrocarbons from Canada remains attractive. One resource of current interest is the heavy oil typically referred to as the ‘oil sands’ in Alberta. The transport of these oils for upgrading (refining) is being considered via the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, linking Alberta with east Texas.
Environmental aspects of heavy crude production, transportation, and refining have been discussed in Congress and the media, with the current U.S. administration indicating that approval of the pipeline would only come if it would not ‘significantly exacerbate’ associated greenhouse gas emissions. Debate in Canada related to the production of heavy crude resulted inShell’s Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project associated with production in Alberta.
Large-scale replication of a Quest-type project in the Port Arthur region could integrate the interests of a wide variety of stakeholders in CO2 emissions:
INDUSTRY: refiners and exporters (oil, liquid natural gas); STATE GOVERNMENT: Texas General Land Office, Texas Railroad Commission; FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory; and ACADEMIC RESEARCH: State research institutions including the Jackson School of Geosciences at UT-Austin; Gulf Coast Carbon Center at the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology; Local institutions including Lamar University Commercialization & Innovation Center Entrepreneurship (CICE). Continue reading →
Many nations recognize that immense potential for geologic storage of carbon dioxide exists in subsea sites on the continental shelf. Indeed, every continent in the world is bordered by passive marine margins suitable for storage. The geology does not stop at the shoreline, and the deep subsurface of those offshore margins is highly suitable for storage. An added attraction of offshore storage is co-location of carbon sources and sinks, as most large industrial emissions sources occur in coastal regions. Compared to onshore sites, which are owned by private entities, offshore territories are controlled by government gencies, thus simplifying regulation and permitting. In addition, potential risks to shallow sources of drinking water and human health and safety are reduced in offshore settings. Such benefits have the potential to resonate with many nations, in particular, industrialized countries that must participate in climate change mitigation for any meaningful impact to occur.
But, working in an offshore environment presents challenges. Costs of siting, development, and monitoring are not insignificant, and regulation of risk and liability may not be well established in all nations. Continue reading →
In 2006, the very first tweet was sent. It read, “just setting up my twttr.” That same year, the Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC), along with many partners, was starting an effort you could argue was even more ambitious. It would provide key information about one of the most feasible technologies we currently have available to mitigate climate change. The GCCC was in the planning stages of the most densely observed field study of carbon capture and sequestration in the United States. Located at Cranfield Field, Mississippi, no other sequestration project aimed to incorporate as many different geological and technical measurements at a single storage site.
A special section of the October issue of the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control is dedicated to documenting the seven years of research on CCS at Cranfield. The section is a mid-project overview and assessment of the CCS fieldwork, dense data collection, and analysis that still continues there. The section consists of sixteen papers authored by GCCC staff and their colleagues. It opens with a discussion of the Cranfield project design and covers risk assessment, characterization, injection and production activities, as well as monitoring techniques and modeling. The volume was guest-edited by Susan Hovorka, Tip Meckel and JP Nicot.