Large-scale geologic carbon sequestration is something Occidental has been perfecting for more than 40 years. But how, exactly, can the general public be sure that the carbon we store through geological sequestration stays safe and secure?
The process of geologic carbon sequestration is a pretty amazing feat of engineering, planning, construction and geology. Captured CO2 is compressed into a fluid almost as dense as water, and injected underground through a secure and highly engineered well to a porous injection reservoir. Once underground, an impermeable cap rock at the top of the oil and gas formation prevents the CO2 from returning to the surface.
But how can you be SURE it works?
Over the last few decades, Occidental has taken the lead in perfecting carbon sequestration performance. Today Occidental uses the most proven and well-regulated sequestration protocols in the energy industry. In fact, we do 10 different high-impact things that bring peace of mind to sequestration integrity. These include:
1. Putting Geology on Our Side
Impermeable caprocks can hold hydrocarbons well below ground for millions of years. We inject captured CO2 deep underground, into reservoirs beneath the caprock formations. Occidental’s Permian Basin reservoir infrastructure has more than enough capacity to hold the entire nation’s auto emissions for the next 100 years!
2. Rigorous Well Engineering
Occidental carefully designs and engineers the wells that lead from the surface to the reservoir with multiple layers of casing, high-performance materials and quality components to ensure they’re up for the job.
3. Isolating the Reservoir
Captured CO2 is injected to a depth of between 0.93 miles and 1.86 miles below ground. There, it’s secured in three different ways: dissolved into the saline water and hydrocarbons trapped under the cap rock, trapped within the rock’s pore spaces, and reacts to form new minerals.
4. Math and Modeling
Occidental engineers run extensive reservoir modeling and predictive fluid dynamic simulations of CO2 saturation within the reservoir using supercomputers. These help determine factors such as fluid densities, diffusion, seismic analysis, Equation of State (EOS) calculations, volume calculations and more.
5. Deploying Specialized Technology
Occidental has installed sensors, flow meters, temperature gauges and more throughout the downhole environment—as well as hyper-sensitive surface monitoring and surveillance systems, including infra-red sensitive cameras, to help detect any possible losses.
6. Preventative Maintenance
System components and infrastructure are analyzed and replaced aggressively with an eye toward eliminating failure risk and preventing problems before they have a chance to start.
7. Putting the Carbon to Work
In a process called Carbon Neutral Production (CNP), Occidental uses sequestered CO2 to displace trapped oil within an active reservoir—helping produce oil and gas more efficiently while lowering the carbon impact of oil production to produce carbon-neutral, or even carbon-negative, oil.
8. Stable Storage Zones
The company’s sequestration facility is built in an area demonstrated by seismic studies to be free of any faults or fractures.
9. Redundant Sequestration Fields
The company’s CO2 infrastructure is connected to multiple sequestration fields, so CO2 can be rerouted to an adjacent reservoir system if the need arises.
10. Securing Government Oversight / MRV Programs
Occidental developed the nation’s first ever carbon sequestration Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) programs to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous regulations. These programs include loss detection, mechanical integrity, field inspection and other carefully considered elements that ensure security.
The extensive experience and engineering Occidental has put into all of these sequestration assurance measures has made us a leader in carbon sequestration—working together with governments, nongovernmental organizations, and industry leaders to bring new levels of confidence to this critical carbon management tool.< Back