Carbon capture, sequestration, utilization and storage (CCUS) solutions are complex interdisciplinary projects that require the collaboration of large, diverse teams to design, construct and operate. Because of the significant time and cost of full-scale design, the starting point of these projects is typically the pre-feasibility study. The purpose of these studies is to get an overview of the problem, risks and potential solutions, and to lay out a roadmap for the next stage of the investigation. Here’s a summary of a few of the key components of a carbon sequestration pre-feasibility study.
CO₂ Source Analysis—The purpose is to document the characteristics of the carbon source, provide an initial assessment of the capture technologies that are applicable and how the source will be integrated with the storage site.
Geological Storage Assessment—In this portion, the stratigraphic column is reviewed for suitable storage reservoirs, trapping mechanisms are described and geohazards and storage risks are considered.
Project Definition—This portion involves initial reservoir modeling (including the estimation of modeling parameters), review of simulation results, and estimation of the area of review for later, more detailed investigation. This phase also includes a preliminary definition of the infrastructure needed in the project, such as pipelines, wellhead and downhole injection equipment, and the elements of the storage monitoring plan. Preliminary considerations of the pore space ownership rights and environmental impacts are addressed here as well.
Project Integration—This part of the study deals with the economics of the project, including tax incentives, the plan for acquiring regulatory approvals, and how other stakeholders would be engaged should the project proceed.
This quick overview describes just a few of the important elements needed to make a pre-feasibility study of a potential carbon sequestration project, but it serves to illustrate the wide range of skills needed and emphasizes the importance of project management to create a holistic analysis that’s the basis for a sound decision whether to proceed with more detailed feasibility studies.
About the Author:
Steve Hendrickson is the president of Ralph E. Davis Associates, an Opportune LLP company. Hendrickson has over 30 years of professional leadership experience in the energy industry with a proven track record of adding value through acquisitions, development and operations. In addition, he possesses extensive knowledge of petroleum economics, energy finance, reserves reporting and data management, and has deep expertise in reservoir engineering, production engineering and technical evaluations. Hendrickson is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas and holds an M.S. in Finance from the University of Houston and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves as a board member of the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers and is a registered FINRA representative.
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