Module 14 Potential for CO2 capture and storage in the APEC region

Original text: S. Bachu, APEC Capacity Building in the APEC Region, Phase II Revised and updated by CO2CRC

Overview

A number of economies in the APEC region have strong potential for CO2 capture and storage. The potential of industrialized economies is generally well known, and most of these economies are considered international leaders in the field. The potential of developing economies in the APEC region is generally less well known. This module gives an indication of CCS potential in the APEC region as a whole, based on a study in 2004. Updates from work completed in individual economies is included.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module you will:

  • Have a broad understanding of the potential for CO2 capture and storage in the APEC region in industrialized and developing economies;
  • Be able to identify specific basins or regions in APEC economies which should be considered for further research and analysis; and
  • Be aware of the general process that can be used to short-list potential basins for analysis of their potential for CO2 storage.

Global-scale potential for CO2 capture and geological storage in the APEC region

The potential for CO2 capture and geological storage of any region and at any scale is based on the following two broad criteria:

  • Availability of CO2 sources - the current and forecasted existence of large, stationary CO2 sources, such as thermal power generation, refineries, cement plants, petrochemical plants and large industrial complexes, that will allow CO2 capture on a large scale is needed to supply CO2 to storage sites.
  • Availability of economically suitable storage reservoirs - The existence of geological media (sedimentary basins) suitable for CO2 storage within economically viable distance that meet the criteria of capacity and safety is also required.

The criteria for selecting a CO2 source and storage basin are provided in Module 6. These criteria apply as well to the APEC region, which currently comprises the following economies: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Viet Nam (Figure 14.1).

Figure 14.1: Geographic location of APEC economies.

In general terms, the potential for CO2 storage in geological media in the APEC region can be defined as:

Likely small in small- and medium-sized economies along the Pacific Rim - this is because circum-Pacific sedimentary basins are located in a region of plate subduction, active tectonism and volcanism, are faulted, and are generally smaller in size than divergent sedimentary basins on the stable continental lithosphere (Bachu, 2003).

Large in continental-sized economies, with storage sites located in areas away from the Pacific Rim - such as Australia, Canada, People's Republic of China, Russia and the United States. For these economies, as well as for Mexico, the greatest potential for CO2 storage is in regions that are farther away from the Pacific Ocean. For example, in the case of Canada, United States and Mexico, the potential is largely on the Eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. In Australia, significant potential exists for storage in offshore oil and gas reservoirs in Western Australia along the Indian Ocean. In China and Russia, it is assumed that significant potential exists in the inland portion of the Asian continent and in European part of Russia.

This analysis is based on global-scale tectonism and geology, only. It will need to be complemented by a more detailed analysis of sedimentary basins, and of CO2 sources and emissions, before the potential for CO2 storage in the APEC region can be fully evaluated.

Sedimentary basins with greatest potential for CO2 storage in industrialized economies of the APEC region

The industrialized economies in the APEC region are Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. These economies are leaders in the field of CO2 capture and storage (CCS) and their potential for storage is better known. All these economies have vigorous programs in CCS, a strong research program, and roadmaps for CCS implementation. By and large, each of these economies has completed the initial steps of creating an inventory of CO2 sources and estimating CO2 capacity. They are now at various stages of source-sink matching (see, for example, Bradshaw et al., 2004; Dooley et al., 2005).

The potential of each of these economies is as follows.

Canada and the United States – a Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada has been published. It is the first coordinated assessment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) potential across the majority of the U.S. and portions of western Canada. The total storage capacity in oil and gas fields is estimated to be approximately 138 GtCO2 The total CO2 storage capacity in deep saline aquifers is the estimated to lie between 3,297 GtCO2 and 12,618 GtCO2. Unmineable coal seams are estimated to have a storage potential of between 157 and 178 GtCO2 (DOE/NETL, 2008).

Australia's sedimentary basins have the potential to store more than a century of Australia's CO2 emissions (Bradshaw et al., 2004). Since Australia is not a major hydrocarbon producer, its CO2 storage capacity in depleted reservoirs is likely small, but will contribute to Australia's needs. There are only niche opportunities for CO2-EOR, due to the high primary recovery and very good reservoir quality, and to the light oils that are present (Bradshaw and Rigg, 2001; Bradshaw et al., 2002). In regard to deep saline aquifers, an initial storage capacity estimate of 740 GtCO2 was determined. (Bradshaw et al., 2004). Regional studies focusing on various basins in Australia have been carried out by CO2CRC over the past several years, Queensland has published a storage atlas, and an atlas for NSW is forthcoming.

New Zealand's CO2 emissions are small; however, the northern island most likely has potential to meet its requirements. The southern island has some potential in the foreland basin; however, generally there are no major CO2 sources. A "satellite study" was carried out in 2006/2007 and further regional studies followed this.

Japan's total capacity has been estimated to 146.1 GtCO2 (RITE, 2007) in deep saline aquifers mostly in offshore basins (CO2 geological storage project being implemented by the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE)). Japan has no storage capacity in hydrocarbon reservoirs and minimal sedimentary basins that would meet the criteria for geological storage of CO2. Although a leader in the field of CO2 capture and storage, initial indications are that geological storage capacity will be limited in Japan.

The circum-Arctic basins in the United States and Canada are considered to have lower potential because of the distances involved to reach these basins, the harsh conditions, and the lack of close CO2 sources and infrastructure to support CO2 capture and storage (Bachu, 2003).

Sedimentary basins with greatest potential for CO2 storage in developing economies of the APEC region

There are 400 identified sedimentary basins in all the APEC economies, including those in their offshore territorial waters (St. John et al., 1984; USGS, 2000). The potential for CO2 storage in sedimentary basins under the jurisdiction of developing economies of the APEC region is less well known. A study was commissioned by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to undertake the first broad analysis of the potential of these basins (Bradshaw et. al, August 2004 and Bradshaw et. al., October 2004).

The authors of the study undertook a series of analyses to prioritize further research and characterisation of sedimentary basins suitable for CO2 storage in developing economies of the APEC region. This was required for this study in particular, due to time and budgetary constraints. Further analysis will be required before a fully representative list of potential storage basins and specific sites can be finalized. In the first step of the prioritization exercise, the following economies and/or regions were excluded or considered of low potential or priority for the stated reasons:

  • The circum-Polar region of Russia – is considered as having low potential for the same reasons as the circum-Polar regions of Canada and the United States.
  • European Russia - was excluded because of the significant distances involved, and of the different conditions that apply in European Russia than in the rest of the APEC region.
  • City states – such as Singapore and Hong Kong, China have relatively small CO2 emissions. In addition, their potential for CO2 geological storage theoretically lies offshore, where international law and issues of jurisdiction, territorial waters, and right of passage apply.
  • Brunei – although an oil producer, similarly has small emissions. Its potential likely lies offshore.
  • APEC economies with low CO2 emissions – were considered a lower priority for the analysis. These economies include: Ecuador, Peru, and Chile along the Andes Mountains in South America, and Papua New Guinea in Asia. Sedimentary basins in these economies are mostly intramontane, with difficult access and far from CO2 sources, or offshore.
  • Mexico – its potential for CO2 geological storage lies on the Atlantic side rather than on the Pacific side, east of the mountain ranges and in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Sedimentary basins of poor potential for CO2 storage – exclusion of abyssal sediments on oceanic crust, areas of folded platforms, and basins composed largely of volcanogenic sediments.

Excluding the above economies and basins, 170 of the 400 existing basins in the APEC region are deemed to be of interest currently for assessing their potential, suitability and capacity for CO2 geological storage. The sedimentary basins in Asian APEC economies considered in the current study are shown in Figure 14.2. Basins in the following APEC economies were retained for further analysis: (counterclockwise starting from northeast Asia, see Figure 14.1): Russia (Asian part), the Republic of Korea, the Peoples' Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Figure 14.2: Sedimentary basins in Asian APEC economies (modified from Bradshaw et. al., August 2004).

In an attempt to further prioritize sedimentary basins to be considered for this analysis, the CO2 emissions in these economies were taken into account based on the report "1998 CO2 Emissions of East and South-East Asia" (IEA GHG Programme, 2002). The CO2 sources in Asia can be consolidated into CO2 nodes, whose distribution is shown in Figure 14.3. As illustrated, developing APEC economies in Asia, with significant CO2 emissions are: the Republic of Korea, the People's Republic of China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Note there has been significant growth in China's use of fossil fuel energy since these emissions map was produced. There are estimated to be over 1,620 large stationary point sources which emit over 3.8 GtCO2 (Li et al, 2009). Those point sources are distributed mainly in the East and South Central Administrative Regions. A map of the emission sources can be found in Dahowski et al. This paper also includes a map of potential storage formation in China. The majority of storage in China (99%) is in deep saline formations – capacity estimates are 2,300 GtCO2 onshore and 780 GtCO2 offshore.

Figure 14.3: Asian APEC economies with significant CO2 emissions and location of major CO2- nodes (modified from Bradshaw et. al., August 2004).

All source-sink matching studies to date (also called "cost-curves for CO2 capture and storage") have used an arbitrary radius of 300 km around a CO2 node. This is based on the premise that this represents an appropriate (economic) distance for a pipeline to be run, although, much longer pipelines are likely to be utilized in some future projects. If this limit of 300 km is used, then the number of sedimentary basins of interest in the APEC region in Asia is further reduced, as shown in Figure 14.4.

In China, 91% of large stationary sources of CO2 are within 161km of a candidate storage formation. However, there are many sources in the east and south central regions that are more than 240km from potentially suitable storage basins (Dahowski et al, 2009).

Figure 14.4: Sedimentary basins in Asian APEC economies within 300 km distance from major CO2 nodes (modified from Bradshaw et. al., August 2004).

It should be noted that there are CO2 sources that have an extremely high purity (close to 100%), outside these CO2 nodes. These are very economically attractive for CO2 storage. Most of these are produced from hydrogen production in refineries and ammonia plants. The location of these high-purity CO2 sources is shown in Figure 14.5.

Figure 14.5 Location of high-purity CO2 sources in Asian APEC economies (modified from Bradshaw et. al., October 2004).

If only the general CO2 nodes and the location of high-purity CO2 sources are taken into account, the number of sedimentary basins that should be considered for CO2 geological storage in APEC economies in east and south-east Asia is reduced to 30, as shown in Figure 14.6. These basins are listed in Table 14.1.

Figure 14.6: Sedimentary basins in East and Southeast Asian APEC economies that would potentially be primary targets for CO2 geological storage based on their proximity to major CO2 sources (modified from Bradshaw et. al., October 2004, see Table 14.1 for basin names).

Table 14.1: Sedimentary basins in Asian APEC economies that would potentially be primary targets for CO2 geological storage based on their proximity to major CO2 sources (modified from Bradshaw et. al., August 2004. For location see figure 14.6).

Some of the sedimentary basins that were identified as top priority for further detailed analysis in the APEC commissioned study have specific challenges associated with their development for CO2 geological storage. This is particularly true for those that are located off-shore, indicating that the probability of implementing CO2 geological storage is not equal for all the short-listed basins. This is true even if they are within 300 km distance from major CO2 emission centers and/or sources of high-purity CO2.

According to general principles of customary international law, States can exercise their sovereignty in their territories and, therefore, could engage in activities such as CO2 geological storage in those areas under their jurisdiction, particularly onshore. However, if such storage causes transboundary impacts, States have the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of an economy's jurisdiction. More specifically, there exist a number of global and regional environmental treaties, notably those on climate change and the law of the sea and marine environment which, as presently drafted, could be interpreted so as to indicate the permissibility or otherwise of CO2 geological storage.

A series of off-shore basins in East and Southeast Asia are found in international waters or straddle the territorial waters of more than one economy. Regulations regarding the storage of CO2 offshore are still underdevelopment (see Module 10).

In addition, if the location of these basins (on-or offshore), accessibility and possible lack of infrastructure (particularly for offshore basins) are taken into account, it is likely that offshore basins will be used for CO2 geological storage much later than onshore basins, if at all (Bachu, 2003; see Module 6 for more discussion on this topic). Among the 30 selected basins, the ones that would fall into this category are: Korea Bay, Tsushima, East China Sea, Taixinian, Pearl River Mouth, Beibuwan, Yinggehai, Thai, Malay, Penyu/West Natuna, North Sumatra, Northwest Java and East Java. The remaining 17 basins should be the focus of more detailed studies for determination of their suitability and capacity for CO2 geological storage.

Summary

Circum-Pacific sedimentary basins are less favorable for CO2 storage because they are located in tectonically unstable areas with faults and have generally smaller capacity for storage. The highest potential for CO2 storage in the APEC region is in large, continental-sized economies. The most promising sites would be in areas away from the Pacific Rim. This would include: Australia, Canada, Mexico, the Peoples' Republic of China, Russia and the United States.

The potential of industrialized economies within the APEC region is generally known. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States have the most potential for storage. These economies are also generally leaders in the field and have strong research and implementation programs in place to support CO2 capture and storage.

There are 400 known sedimentary basins in APEC economies. The potential of these basins in developing economies of the APEC region is generally unknown, although significant moves have been made to map storage basins in some economies.

A number of regions or economies in developing areas of APEC can be excluded from this analysis as they have low potential or priority for CO2 storage. As a result, sedimentary basins in Russia (the Asian part), the Republic of Korea, the Peoples' Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mexico have the most potential.

Sufficiently high CO2 emissions are important criteria for prioritizing basins in APEC developing economies. Without adequate CO2 emissions, sufficient CO2 capture for storage is not possible or economically prohibitive.

A distance of 300 km from a CO2 node (source) is generally accepted as the economic limit for feasibility. However, sources of extremely high CO2 purity outside of these limits should also be considered.

Some of the basins that resulted from the APEC commissioned study are located in offshore areas. These will be subject to international laws and treaties and could raise the coasts of developing them.

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Websites

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