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UNFC now applicable for storage of CO2

Courtesy of CEPAC/GCCSI

Fossil fuels comprise currently 81% of global primary energy supply. There is no plausible scenario in which their share of the energy mix drops below 40% by 2050 even in a scenario that meets a 2°C target.  Some analysts would argue the future share of fossil energy will be much higher than 40%. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the only technology that can deliver the reduction of emissions from fossil fuel use that are needed if we are to limit the global increase in temperature to 2°C. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), through 2050 CCS could provide 13 percent of global emissions reductions (around 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year).

If the world is to develop the underground storage capacity needed to receive those volumes of CO2 in that timeframe, it will be essential to improve our understanding of the geological, technical, and socio-economic parameters of alternative storage projects. As part of that programme, UNECE has worked to develop specifications for the application of the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC) to injection projects for geological storage. The specifications are now operational following approval by UNECE’s Committee on Sustainable Energy.

Geological CO2 storage is the containment of CO2 in deep subsurface geological “reservoirs” to isolate it from the atmosphere. The work on geological storage is essential for possible future development of CCS as a reliable estimate of CO2 storage capacity is an important consideration when selecting storage sites.

The specifications were prepared by a task force of the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Classification that is led by Karin Ask, Corporate Reserves Manager for Statoil. The task force comprises representatives from the British Geological Survey, CCOP, Global CCS Institute, Illinois State Geological Survey, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, OMV and Shell. The IEA was also a key contributor. Karin Ask stated “I am very pleased that the efforts of the task force have now resulted in a classification system that can be applied to injection projects for the purpose of geological storage such as storage of CO2”. These specifications will help industry, policymakers and regulators structure the permitting needed for CO2 storage.

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, which was launched at COP21 in Paris, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers are currently working on a Storage Resource Management System that will be aligned with the UNFC Specifications.

The Specifications are available at: http://www.unece.org/energy/se/unfc2009_injection_projects.html

For more information, contact: reserves.energy@unece.org