Carbon Storage Atlas

The Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership



Scale-Up to Phase II

Phase II of the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) validated the carbon storage potential of the prospective sites identified in Phase I and various technologies with small-scale injections in the Southeast United States. Two field sites, the Central Appalachian Basin and the Black Warrior Basin, were storage projects in coal seams in Virginia and Alabama, respectively. Another was an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) stacked storage project in the Cranfield oilfield in southwest Mississippi, and the fourth was a saline reservoir underlying a power plant in southeast Mississippi.

In order to create a regional capacity for carbon dioxide (CO2) knowledge and transfer, several diverse partners were engaged, each with their own set of applied expertise. This collaboration typified the variety of entities that will need to work together on a regional scale for commercial deployment to be accomplished. Successfully finessing and navigating the relationships of these various entities will be a major crux of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects that make a large impact on emissions. For example, the coordination between the Mississippi Power Company’s Victor J. Daniel Power Plant, Electric Power Research Institute, and Southern Company made the saline reservoir test site a success.


Regional Accomplishments

The variety of carbon dioxide (CO2) sources incorporated into the project made regional-scale interest in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) possible. Coal, oil, and electrification industries were engaged by the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) due to their interest in environmental protection via carbon storage.

Coal seams provide an attractive storage option in the southeast region due to the prolific coalbed methane (CBM) industry. Two SECARB Phase II field tests targeted and tested just the tip of the iceberg of the estimated 82.1 billion metric tons of potential storage capacity in this region’s geology. Saline formations are the primary storage option due to the proximity underlying many power plants in the region. Stacked storage in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects is estimated at 34 billion metric tons in the region, and this tested phased development has the advantage of short-term, large-volumes for immediate commercial benefit. Each storage option was assessed, tested, and evaluated for performance using a variety of tools.

The validation in Phase II of select sites identified in Phase I and the magnitude of available subsurface storage in the region further identified in Phase II encourage the confidence in the regional-wide emissions-reduction opportunities that exist with carbon capture and storage (CCS) applied in a variety of southeast geographies with varying industrial sources, enabling the region-wide industrial capacity to lower emissions.


Story of Interest

The layers below the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas form the thickest sedimentary layers under the onshore U.S. continent, accumulating over ancient time and grinding tectonic plates. These layers underneath the region contain some of the most explored oil and gas reservoirs in the United States. Because of this, there are many oil operations, including Denbury Onshore LLC, which operated the Cranfield oilfield storage site, and previously drilled wells to access for carbon dioxide (CO2) injection monitoring.

On a visit to the site by the Southern States Energy Board, new students were able to view this process and get a hands-on experience of what goes on below the surface, in the carbon storage reservoir made up of sandy layers 3 kilometers (~1.86 miles) below where feet touch the ground east of Natchez, Mississippi.

Ella G. Lees #7, a previously plugged and abandoned production well, was reentered and repaired to serve as a well to observe, as opposed to inject, CO2 injection. In order to repurpose this well, a perforation gun, loaded with dynamite, was lowered from a spool on the back of truck down the length of the well. Once it arrived at the desired depth, the students placed their hands on the cable, the dynamite was detonated, and students felt the time it took for the vibration to reach the surface.

The well and its wireline gave researchers access to temperature and pressure transmitted in real-time. Pressure continued to be monitored for many years.


Research vs. Commercial

The goal of the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership’s (SECARB) Phase II was to test and validate a variety of technologies in order to assess:

  • The effectiveness of these technologies for a variety of technical purposes (i.e., monitoring).
  • The cost-effectiveness of these technologies for operators, based on data quality.

Enabled by government funding and supporting partners, operations were able to focus more on assessment, process workflow refinement, and reasonably maximizing the amount of data obtained. A commercial operation, informed by these field tests, would optimize the technologies, data collection, and procedure to meet operational and regulatory requirements, and would be injecting at larger volumes with anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2).

Sourcing and injecting the CO2 in Phase II meant that many of the CO2 providers, transporters, and injection operators were pieced together. The Victor J. Daniel Power Plant storage site, for example, was not a fully integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) value chain, which many sources embarking on commercial-scale activities will likely find desirable. The Cranfield oilfield site was based on existing enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations, and research activities were tailored accordingly. Though many of the SECARB Phase II research activities were dependent on external funding, EOR operations like those studies at Cranfield will be accessible to early commercial adopters.



  • Advanced Resources International
  • AGL Resources
  • Alabama Oil & Gas Board Alawest
  • Alppha Natural Resources
  • American Electric Power
  • AMVEST Gas Resources, Inc.
  • Applied Geo Technologies
  • Arch Coal
  • Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission
  • Association of American Railroads
  • Augusta Systems, Inc.
  • Big Rivers Electric Corporation
  • BP America, Inc.
  • Buchanan Energy Company of Virginia, LLC
  • Buckhorn Coal
  • CO2 Capture Project
  • CDX Gas, LLC
  • Center for Energy and Economic Development
  • Chevron Texaco Corporation
  • Clean Coal Technologygy Foundation of Texas
  • Clean Energy Systems, Inc.
  • Composite Technology Corporation
  • CONSOL, Inc.
  • Core Laboratories
  • Dart Oil & Gas Corporation
  • Denbury Resources
  • Dominion Energygy
  • Dominion Resources
  • Drummond Company
  • Duke Power
  • Eastern Coal Council
  • Edison Electric Institute
  • Electric Power Research Institute
  • Services
  • Equitable Production
  • F. D. Robertson Enterprises
  • Florida Municipal Electric Association
  • Florida Power & Light Company
  • Geological Survey of Alabama
  • GeoMet
  • Georggia Environmental Facilities Authority
  • Georgia Forestry Commission
  • Georgia Power Company Halliburton
  • Integrated Utility Services, Inc.
  • International Coal Group
  • Interstate Oil and Gas Comppact Commission
  • Jim Walter Resources, Inc.
  • Kentucky Geological Survey
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
  • Louisiana Geological Survey
  • Marshall Miller & Associates
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • McJunkin Appalachian Oilfield Company
  • Mississippi Power Company
  • Mississippppi State Universityy (MSU)
  • National Coal Council
  • National Mining Association
  • Natural Resource Partners
  • Norfolk Southern
  • North American Coal Corporation
  • North Carolina State
  • Energy Office Nuclear Energy Institute
  • Oak Ridge National gyLaboratory
  • Old Dominion Electric Cooperative Peabody Energy
  • Penn Virginia
  • Phillips Group
  • Mountain Oil & Gas, Inc. Piney Land
  • Pocahontas Land
  • Powell River Project
  • Praxair
  • Progress Energy
  • QEA, LLC
  • Rentech, Inc.
  • RMB Earth Science Consultants, Ltd.
  • RMS Strategies
  • SCANA Energy
  • Schlumberger Shell Oil Company
  • Smith Energy
  • South Carolina Department of Agriculture
  • South Carolina Electric & Gas
  • South Carolina Public Service Authority/Santee Cooper
  • Southern Company
  • Southern Natural Gas
  • Southern States Energy Board
  • Susan Rice and Associates, Inc.
  • TXU Corporation
  • Tampa Electric Compppany
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Texas Bureau of Economic Geology -Gulf Coast Carbon Center
  • United Company, The
  • United States Deppartment of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • University of Alabama
  • Universityy of British Columbia
  • Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research
  • Walden Consulting
  • Winrock International