Southampton researchers are playing a key role investigating the risks of leaks from carbon dioxide (CO2) storage reservoirs situated under the seabed.
Academics from the University of Southampton will work with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) on a NERC-funded project to understand the risks involved in the storage of CO2 in depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers in the North Sea.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is recognised as an important way of reducing the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere, and oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers are the preferred storage location of most European nations. However, a key element in the safety of such storage is to fully understand the risks of any leakage.
University of Southampton lead scientist Professor Jonathan Bull, a professor in Geology and Geophysics, said: “The location and potential size of any possible CO2 leakage at the sea floor is critically dependent on the distribution and permeability of fluid pathways in the marine sediments overlying any proposed storage reservoir.”
The four-year project aims to develop better techniques to locate these sub-seafloor structures and determine the permeability of the pathways so that they can be better constrained and quantified. Amongst other equipment specified for the project, the Applied Acoustics’ DTS-500 deep-tow sparker will be used to survey the geology beneath the seabed to determine, in high resolution, the geophysical stratigraphy of the sedimentary basins.