Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another Report Looks at Induced Seismicity from CCS

Stanford University researchers recently published a study claiming that CCS operations can induce significant seismic events and therefore do not offer a credible mitigation option (see Geologic Storage and Earthquakes?, 6/23).  Now the National Research Council (NRC) of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has offered its view on the subject.  In the prepublication version of a new report on induced seismicity and energy technologies, the NRC emphasizes that any connection between CCS and seismic activity is unclear: "The link of induced seismicity from CCS is currently difficult to accurately assess.  With only few small-scale commercial projects overseas and several small-scale demonstration projects underway in the United States, few data are available to evaluate the induced seismicity potential of this technology" (pp. 8-9).  To the extent that any risk might exist, it could be minimized by maintaining reservoir pore pressure close to its original value.  There is currently no record of any "felt induced events" connected to any CCS operations in the US, nor to any of the approximately 13,000 EOR projects across the country.  The NRC report suggests, as before, that while precautions should always be taken, risks are insufficient to prevent the further development and deployment of CCS technology.

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