Industry has decades of experience capturing, transporting and piping carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground, as well as experience in understanding and monitoring the behaviour of stored carbon dioxide. Storage sites are very carefully selected in areas where the rock formations will safely absorb carbon dioxide deep below the seabed. There is a strong legal framework, under the European CCS Directive, to ensure the safe geological storage of carbon dioxide. The industry is covered by strict national and international regulations to ensure health and safety and environmental protection, and international standards for CCS are being developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas and millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are safely transported each year around the world, for example in the soft drinks industry. The U.S.A. has several decades experience of transporting and injecting carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery - the first carbon dioxide pipeline was commissioned in 1972 and there are now over 6000km of carbon dioxide pipelines in the U.S.A.
All the key processes of CCS have been proven over a number of years and there are currently four industrial-scale CCS projects operating worldwide storing around 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. In March 2012 the Global CCS Institute had identified 75 large scale integrated projects globally, including 15 projects in operation or under construction which are expected to capture 35.4 million tonnes per annum*. What needs to happen now is to integrate CCS into projects at commercial power stations and at other major carbon dioxide -emitting processes to drive the really deep emissions reductions that are needed.
The UK benefits from its experience with North Sea oil and gas operations, meaning we already have many of the skills that are needed to deploy CCS projects. Furthermore, the first CCS demonstration competition in the UK provided invaluable knowledge through the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies produced by E.ON and the ScottishPower Consortium. On 3 April 2012 the UK Government launched the new CCS Commercialisation programme and the UK CCS Roadmap to support practical experience in the design, construction and operation of CCS. Further information on the FEED studies and the launch of the Commercialisation Programme can be found on the Department of Energy and Climate Change website.