Maxine Akhurst

British Geological Survey, Work Package 3 leader, Storage

I’m a geologist and in ALIGN-CCUS I lead work package 3 (WP3), Large-scale storage networks, and contribute to the UK case study to accelerate the implementation of CCS for low-carbon growth for UK industry. I have worked on the appraisal of geological formations deep beneath the North Sea to assess their capacity to permanently store captured CO2 for ten years. From my work, I know that the UK has an extensive and enviable potential CO2 storage resource, well known from hydrocarbon exploration and production, which could securely contain and so reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

I feel that the knowledge, data and infrastructure gained from four decades of offshore oil and gas operation are additional human and technological assets can enable the UK and all North Sea countries to reduce their emissions using CCS. As yet, only a very small proportion of the potential storage strata and the existing oil and gas infrastructure has been assessed as components of an operational storage project.

WP3 investigates reduction of cost and increased certainty in both transport and storage by considering the lessons learned from European storage site assessments and successful operation for more than 20 years in the North Sea. Experience gained in the UK, Netherlands and Norwegian offshore sectors will be used to assess the level of cost and timescale needed to bring a potential storage resource to an operational site. Knowledge and information from oil and gas operations will inform how costs can be reduced by re-use of infrastructure for CO2 storage.

I believe application of our findings will reduce the cost of CCS and enable Europe to reap a second harvest from the North Sea by large-scale reduction of its industrial greenhouse gas emissions.