A media report has today suggested that, according to a UK Government publication, the large-scale storage of carbon dioxide in geological features in the North Sea might “pose a huge gas leak risk”. However, information on the government’s website makes it clear that the report, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), considers a number of scenarios – for the purposes of modelling – and recognises that they are all unlikely.
The report CO2 Storage Liabilities in the North Sea - An Assessment of Risks and Financial Consequences – Summary Report for DECC May 2012 was published on Tuesday 11 February.
According to DECC, the report is intended to provide a basis for understanding the technical risks and financial consequences of CO₂ leaking from a geological storage site. It develops estimates of the probability and rates of leakage for each of the most likely leakage pathways, namely those related to engineered structures and those associated with the geological features of the storage site.
Information accompanying the report concludes that the risk of experiencing a leak over the anticipated lifetime of a storage site is considered to be very low. Likewise, the magnitude of any associated CO₂ loss is estimated to be low and manageable through existing and proven corrective measures. The report considers that the overall financial consequences of leakage are therefore both definable and manageable.
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