The oil & Gas industry has been criticized for creating a negative impact on our planet due to excavating fossil fuel which causes releasing CO2 into our environment. However, the opinion may need to be changed. The same technology used for oil & gas production has been reversed to capture CO2 and send it back. Is this our final solution for climate change? Maybe.
What is offshore CO2 capture?
The engineering aspect of the system includes transportation and a storage system both onshore and offshore. The onshore facility will collect and compress industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) into liquid, then use an offshore pipeline send to a subsea well and store the CO2 underneath the earth.
Is this technology new?
The simple answer to this is no, similar technology has been used for years in the subsea oil gas industry, which has been called subsea water injection. Subsea water injection techs are used to boost brownfield production. Water injection pumps water into the subsea well which is relatively simple because water is one phase during transportation. However, CO2 may be liquid or gas during transportation, so precise pressure control is the major challenge CO2 capture technology has.
How does it work out in the real world?
Europe leads the world in this concept. There are two ongoing projects as of 2022: total zero and northern light. Total zero will be led by BP which plans to capture up to 6 MM metric tons/yr of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 2 million homes in the UK. The northern light project is led by Equinor, which will be placed close to Norway.
Can the subsea industry be the final solution to climate change?
This is possible, the ocean covers 70% of the earth’s surface, and there is a lot we can do to utilize the resource and space under the ocean. If these CO2 projects get significant funding support and are successful, it is possible for our solution how to deal with CO2.
However, we are still young on this application. Will this underground CO2 cause other ecosystem problems, like an earthquake or other issues? We still don’t know and need time to prove it.