Shell contemplating GHG science

Long-term storage logistics, support facilities for sequestration, public acceptance, and consistent regulations are just as critical as technology to making carbon capture and storage a reality, said a Shell scientist.

Paula Dittrick
Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Nov. 19 -- Long-term storage logistics, support facilities for sequestration, public acceptance, and consistent regulations are just as critical as technology to making carbon capture and storage (CCS) a reality, said a scientist for Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Charlie Williams, Shell chief scientist of well engineering and production technology, spoke with reporters via a web cast Nov. 15 in conjunction with Shell's International Science Symposium: Future Approaches in Subsurface Chemistry and Physics.

Thirty independent researchers and scientists from around the world met with 30 Shell scientists and technical experts for 2 days in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. The symposium was closed to the public.

Williams briefed reporters about the meeting, saying that specialized cooperative efforts are needed for CCS.

"The world's energy needs could increase by 50% in about 25 years," Williams said. "That is the equivalent of 100 million b/d of oil."

Shell believes maximizing oil and gas recovery rates from existing resources through enhanced oil recovery is one way to respond to rising energy demand. The company also is working to unlock new resources and provide cleaner fuels, Williams said.

"We have to have energy security through energy diversity," he said. "We're going to have to deal with CO2 and the CO2 footprint," he said. "You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

CCS success factors
Shell's Williams said governments will have to accept the long-term liabilities for storing, monitoring, and verifying the location and any movement of stored CO2.

In addition, governments must establish clear rules about accessing pore space. Currently, laws exist regarding extraction practices but regulations have yet to be developed for major injection projects.

"There needs to be social acceptance of the whole idea," Williams said. "A lot of people get confused about the situation."

He also called for market-driven economics, noting that sequestration projects require massive investments.

"Managing CO2 will require a spectrum of approaches, including CCS," Williams said. "We do have a lot of technology today...but government and society have a key role to play."

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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