Importance of Geological Carbon Storage

There are many processes to reduce and/or remove CO2 from the atmosphere. These include Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), Carbon Capture Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS), Direct Air Carbon Capture with storage (DACCS), and Bioenergy with CCS (BECCS). All of these processes require long-term geological carbon storage and help to reduce CO2 emissions from existing facilities or reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere via “carbon negative” processes.

Size and Scale of the Net Zero Goal

As ever-growing global emissions approach 40 billion tons of CO2 annually, policymakers and industry are mapping pathways to a Net Zero future. A key component in achieving this objective will be the geological storage of CO2. Per the IPCC’s sixth assessment report (AR6), “Pathways that likely limit warming to 2°C or below involve some amount of CDR (carbon dioxide removal) to compensate for residual GHG emissions remaining after substantial direct emissions reductions in all sectors and regions (high confidence). CDR deployment in pathways serves multiple purposes: accelerating the pace of emissions reductions, offsetting residual emissions, and creating the option for net negative CO2 emissions in case temperature reductions need to be achieved in the long term (high confidence).” To limit increases in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius, capture and geological storage of carbon dioxide will potentially need to grow from the current 40 million tons per year achieved today to more than 7 billion tons per year over the course of 30 years. To give context, this would involve the creation of a global CCUS industry at a scale larger than the current global oil and gas industry in terms of mass handled.

CCS Challenges and Legislative Developments

While very high growth rates are required for CCS, there are challenges inhibiting that growth, such as economics, regulatory and permitting hurdles, and stakeholder buy-in. Recent legislative developments are addressing some of these challenges. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will improve the economics of CCS projects in the US by increasing the tax credit basis, as well as improving the efficiency of monetization. Additionally, the IRA extended the timeline for a project construction start date to receive credits, providing added certainty for early-stage projects. Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in November 2021 set in motion the creation of a regulatory framework for the geological storage of carbon dioxide in federal waters, which will potentially streamline project development and enhance stakeholder buy-in.

Where does CGG fit in the Carbon Storage Space?

With a multi-disciplinary team of experts and extensive data capabilities, CGG can aid clients at any stage of CCS project development. Recent primary focus areas have been screening and monitoring geological storage sites. For project screening, CGG leverages data management capabilities along with geoscience expertise to provide clients with an assessment of geological feasibility for carbon storage that encompasses capacity, containment, and injectivity. CGG is adding value to client monitoring programs by applying its experience across the geophysical value chain. Its teams are assisting clients by improving early monitoring planning, with the objective to meet project conformance and regulatory requirements cost-effectively.

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Hart Energy IndustryVoice CGG 12-2022