Permanence and Safety of CCS

HOW DO WE KNOW THAT CO2 STORAGE IS SAFE?


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  A CO2 injection well in operation as part of an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operation at a mature oil field in the United States.

Oil, natural gas, and naturally occurring carbon dioxide (CO2) gas deposits have been naturally trapped and stored within subsurface geologic formations for millions of years, providing evidence that it is possible to store CO2 in similar geologic formations for very long periods of time. These deposits provide information about the geologic conditions needed for secure CO2 storage.

In addition, the United States has been safely injecting natural gas into underground formations that are able to store gas until it is needed. This geological and engineering experience is being applied to storage of CO2, a safer, non-combustible gas. Additional evidence that CO2 can be safely stored underground comes from a more than 40-year-old process called enhanced oil recovery (EOR) where CO2 has been injected underground to increase oil production.

Finally, there have been large-scale commercial and research-related trial CO2 storage operations in the United States and around the world that have demonstrated effective CO2 storage. Read more!

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NRAP is building toolsets and improving the science base to address key questions about potential impacts related to release of CO2 or brine from the storage reservoir, and potential ground-motion impacts due to injection of CO2.

Myth: Carbon dioxide injection is unlikely to be safe because it is expected to migrate to the surface.
Reality: Considerable experience with the injection of CO2 for EOR, underground storage of natural gas, and continuous monitoring at several large-scale CCS injection projects around the world indicates that CO2 injection is expected to be safe.