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Calculations of the CO2 storage capacity in the Leman Sandstone Formation and the Bunter Sandstone Formation in the data-rich southern North Sea basin, using structure contour, porosity, and isopach maps and a simulation of CO2 injection, suggest that their CO2 storage capacities are approximately 3 and up to 15 Gt CO2, respectively. It is recognized that such data are not available for most sedimentary basins, and a simple top-down method of calculating CO2 storage capacity would be highly desirable from a policy maker's perspective, so that the storage capacity of a basin, region, or jurisdiction could readily be estimated. Therefore, the above estimates were used to calculate the amount of CO2 stored per unit area and the amount of CO2 stored per unit of pore volume in the Leman Sandstone and Bunter Sandstone formations. The results were compared to similar calculations, derived from published data, for the Utsira Sand, a CO2 storage reservoir in the northern North Sea. The mean CO2 stored per unit area of the formation is 140 kg m−2, and the range is 42–260 kg m−2. The mean CO2 stored per unit pore volume is 6.3 kg m−3, and the range is 1.8–10.0 kg m−3. Two important factors that vary widely between these three North Sea reservoir formations are the total pore volume in traps and the achievable CO2 saturation; neither can be determined without detailed data.
Sam Holloway works for the British Geological Survey. He has spent most of the last 13 years working on the underground storage of carbon dioxide. He is an author of the IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage and the forthcoming 2006 Revision of the IPCC Guidelines for Compiling National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
Ceri Vincent graduated from the University of Leeds with an M.Sci. degree in geophysics in 2000. She has worked on CO2 storage in the North Sea at the British Geological Survey for 5 years.
Michelle Bentham completed a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in earth sciences at the University of Leeds in 1998 and joined Bullen Consultants Ltd. as a graduate geotechnical engineer. In 1999, she returned to the university to study for an M.Sc. degree and then joined the British Geological Survey in 2000. She works as a researcher and project manager on geological CO2 storage projects.
Karen Kirk graduated from Derby University with a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in geology. She has been employed at the British Geological Survey since 1994. For the past 5 years, she has worked mainly on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and natural gas. Current research interests include the storage potential of the United Kingdom continental shelf and onshore area.