42. How visible is a CO2 storage facility?

Since CO2 storage occurs deep underground, there is very little visible presence of a storage project on the surface. The pipe carrying the CO2 will normally be buried, and the only likely visual evidence of the site will be the injection well(s). While CO2 enhanced oil recovery operations will have many injection and producing wells, a storage project that is injecting CO2 only into a deep saline formation, one or two injection wells are likely to be the only visible sign of the storage operation.

At the Weyburn oilfield, the presence of production wells (pumpjacks) is a common sight in the rural fields. The addition of CO2 injection wells did not significantly change the landscape. Well sites are attractively maintained, and the injection wells are covered in beige fibreglass coverings to protect them from the elements and to help them to blend into the surroundings (see Figure 31). Pipelines are buried to a depth that allows for planting of crops and the grazing of livestock.

Figure 31. A pumpjack (production well) on the right, and CO2 injection well, on the left (protected by a beige fibreglass covering) rest in a canola field in the Weyburn area. (Photograph courtesy of PTRC)