41. How much noise and disruption do storage projects cause?

Like any project involving construction and ongoing operations, CO2 enhanced oil recovery and carbon capture and storage projects do have a visible presence in the communities where they are built.

Most of these disruptions are short lived, such as the construction of the CO2 capture and compression facilities, the pipeline for transport of the CO2, and the drilling of the injection and monitoring wells (Figure 30). Some aspects of such projects, however, will be continuous, including the physical injection and monitoring wells (although this presence is minimal – see Figure 31), a possible increase in traffic on nearby roads (this is particularly true in the case of EOR-CO2 injection, since oil tankers and maintenance trucks are likely to be required) and some noise associated with the operation of compressors and wells.

Figure 30. A drilling rig operating in the Weyburn area. Drilling is one possible disruption caused by CCS projects, but is usually completed in a relatively small time frame. (Photograph courtesy of Cenovus Energy)

In the case of CO2 enhanced oil recovery, and the injection of CO2 into the Weyburn and Midale oilfields in particular, the local community was used to industrial activity because of nearly 50 years of oil recovery in the area. Injection and production wells, the presence of trucks on rural gravel roads, and the operation of machinery are all well-known experiences. The oil companies work with the community to use as little land as possible when placing wells, landscape the locations, assure cattle grazing and agricultural uses are not disrupted, and keep up roadways in the areas. Permissions were sought ahead of time for accessing private land, and regulations are followed for the placement of wells and compressors away from dwellings to minimise the impact of noise.

The key is for project owners and planners to meet with communities and be forthcoming about what kinds of impacts can be expected from projects – both potential disruptions and potential benefits such as jobs, reduction in CO2 emissions and economic improvements.