Environmental considerations for subseabed geological storage of CO2: a review

Carroll, A.G., Przeslawski, R., Radke, L.C., Black, J.R., Picard, K., Moreau, J.W. , Haese, R.R. and Nichol, S. (2014) Environmental considerations for subseabed geological storage of CO2: a review. Continental Shelf Research, 83, pp. 116-128. (doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2013.11.012)

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Many countries are now using or investigating offshore geological storage of CO2 as a means to reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions. Although associated research often focuses on deep-basin geology (e.g. seismic, geomagnetics), environmental data on the seabed and shallow subseabed is also crucial to (1) detect and characterise potential indicators of fluid seeps and their potential connectivity to targeted storage reserves, (2) obtain baseline environmental data for use in future monitoring, and (3) acquire information to facilitate an improved understanding of ecosystem processes for use in impact prediction. This study reviews the environmental considerations, including potential ecological impacts, associated with subseabed geological storage of CO2. Due to natural variations in CO2 levels in seafloor sediments, baseline CO2 measurements and knowledge of physical–chemical processes affecting the regional distribution of CO2 and pH are critical for the design of appropriate monitoring strategies to assess potential impacts of CO2 seepage from subseabed storage reservoirs. Surficial geological and geophysical information, such as that acquired from multibeam sonar and sub-bottom profiling, can be used to investigate the connectivity between the deep reservoirs and the surface, which is essential in establishing the reservoir containment properties. CO2 leakage can have a pronounced effect on sediments and rocks which in turn can have carryover effects to biogeochemical cycles. The effects of elevated CO2 on marine organisms are variable and species-specific but can also have cascading effects on communities and ecosystems, with marine benthic communities at some natural analogue sites (e.g. volcanic vents) showing decreased diversity, biomass, and trophic complexity. Despite their potential applications, environmental surveys and data are still not a standard and integral part of subseabed CO2 storage projects. However, the habitat mapping and seabed characterisation methodology that underpins such surveys is well developed and has a strong record of providing information to industry and decision makers. This review provides recommendations for an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to offshore geological storage of CO2, which will benefit national programs and industry and will be valuable to researchers in a broad range of disciplines.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moreau, Dr John
Authors: Carroll, A.G., Przeslawski, R., Radke, L.C., Black, J.R., Picard, K., Moreau, J.W., Haese, R.R., and Nichol, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Continental Shelf Research
ISSN (Online):1873-6955
Published Online:21 November 2013

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