UT assessing carbon storage in Gulf of Mexico

The University of Texas at Austin will use $6 million in federal and state grants to identify possible carbon sequestration sites on state-owned property under the Gulf of Mexico.

Sep 29th, 2009

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 29
-- The University of Texas at Austin will use $6 million in federal and state grants to identify possible carbon sequestration sites on state-owned property under the Gulf of Mexico.

The US Department of Energy issued a $4.8 million grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Texas General Land Office issued a $1.2 million grant to assess the potential for an offshore carbon repository.

Tip Meckel, a research associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology, a research unit at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences, said Texas state lands in the gulf already are one of the most geologically studied areas worldwide.

Texas state ownership extends 12 nautical miles offshore compared to 3 miles for all other states except Florida.

ION Geophysical, a company that acquires and processes seismic data for the oil and gas industry, donated UT researchers access to extensive regional seismic datasets.

Formosa Plastics and its subsidiary, Neumin Production Co., have provided researchers with a 3D seismic survey valued at $3.3 million.

After developing a regional picture of potential storage areas, researchers will identify a select number of sites for intense study where they will collect new site-specific data and drill core samples.

Researchers will compile a detailed geological site characterization of specific reservoirs that might be used to store industrial carbon dioxide emissions.

Besides UT, research partners include Sandia Technologies LLC, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

EDF will assess environmental risks and collaborate with international organizations planning or already conducting offshore carbon storage.

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