Scientific News

Oil platforms could pump CO2 into rocks under the sea

Oil platforms modified to pump carbon dioxide into the rocks below the seafloor: this is a project that a group of scientists from the University of Edinburgh is working on. The latter have discovered that the current disused oil platforms can still be very useful without at the same time being harmful to the environment in terms of carbon dioxide pollution.

According to the calculations made by the scientists, the modifications to be made to the oil platforms so that they can function as pumping stations for CO 2 storage sites would even be 10 times cheaper than the safe deactivation itself, a highly regulated process that requires several phases. The researchers have in particular analyzed the oil field of Beatrice, located 24 miles north-east of the Scottish coast and have evidently come to the conclusion that it is feasible.

The decommissioning of this field should cost, according to the press release on the University of Edinburgh website, over 260 million pounds. Using this field as a pumping station to cram carbon dioxide for thirty years, you would spend 10 times less.

Researchers have discovered that much electricity can still be generated using natural gas and thermal energy that can still be extracted from saltwater in oil or exhaust gas fields. By mixing the saltwater of the oil field with the CO 2 resulting from the natural gas combustion process, it is possible to inject that carbon dioxide safely and permanently into the depths of the subsoil.

Jonathan Scafidi, a researcher at the School of Geosciences of the University of Edinburgh, lead author of the study, states the following: “The removal of high-cost platforms is short-sighted. Reusing them to dispose of CO 2 in rocks for several kilometers below the seafloor will not only be cheaper, but will provide an economic means of reducing UK CO 2 emissions to reach the Net-zero 2050 target.”