Quantifying the relation between Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and earthquake risk
Carbon capture and storage is a strategic step towards reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
Reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a crucial part of mitigating climate change and reaching the climate goals set by the UN. Geologic storage of CO2, also known as Geologic Carbon Sequestration (GCS), is a long-term solution, that is already well underway, utilising the technological advances and experiences of the Oil and Gas and Geothermal energy industries.
The process of injecting and storing fluids in geological layers affects the local crustal stresses. A resulting imbalance may induce earthquakes as the stress is released through activation of existing, or the creation of new, faults and/or fractures. These earthquakes could potentially threaten CO2 containment or cause structural damage to the CCS facilities. Larger earthquakes could also be cause for concern in terms of societal impact, as they may cause damage to critical infrastructure, public or private property, communication cables, etc. Felt earthquakes, triggered by human activity, may, at a minimum, affect public perception. A negative public perception of GCS could impact political and economic will to continue with CCS. This could be critical for what is a potentially vital aid to the ongoing climate crises.
This project aims to quantify the relation between CCS and seismic hazard and risk, the likelihood of earthquakes, and the risk of these earthquakes causing damage. The project will include a field example, evaluating the hazard and risk for a planned storage site at the Horda platform, off the coast of western Norway. A thorough hazard and risk analysis will help inform industry and policy makers when making decisions towards the UN climate goals, as well as the strategic focus of the Norwegian government on CCS as a future industry.
The project is still in the start-up phase and I am aiming to have my first results ready by the end of 2022.