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Geological CO2 Storage as a Climate Change Mitigation Option

  • Asbjørn Torvanger
  • Kristin Rypdal
  • Steffen Kallbekken
Article

Abstract

Carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage is increasingly being considered as an important climate change mitigation option. This paper explores provisions for including geological CO2 storage in climate policy. The storage capacity of Norway's Continental Shelf is alone sufficient to store a large share of European CO2 emissions for many decades. If CO2 is injected into oil reservoirs there is an additional benefit in terms of enhanced oil recovery. However, there are significant technical and economic challenges, including the large investment in infrastructure required, with related economies of scale properties. Thus CO2 capture, transportation and storage projects are likely to be more economically attractive if developed on a large scale, which could mean involving two or more nations. An additional challenge is the risk of future leakages from storage sites, where the government must take on a major responsibility. In institutional and policy terms, important challenges are the unsettled status of geological CO2 storage as a policy measure in the Kyoto Protocol, lack of relevant reporting and verification procedures, and lack of decisions on how the option should be linked to the flexibility mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol. In terms of competitiveness with expected prices for CO2 permits under Kyoto Protocol trading, the relatively high costs per tonne of CO2 stored means that geological CO2 storage is primarily of interest where enhanced oil recovery is possible. These shortcomings and uncertainties mean that companies and governments today only have weak incentives to venture into geological CO2 storage.

Keywords

CO2 capture and storage CO2 leakage climate policy geological storage Kyoto Protocol Norwegian Continental Shelf permit prices reporting and verification 

Abbreviations

CDM

Clean Development Mechanism

CH4

methane

CO2

carbon dioxide

EOR

Enhanced Oil Recovery

HFCs

hydrofluorocarbons

IPCC

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

LULUCF

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

UNFCCC

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asbjørn Torvanger
    • 1
  • Kristin Rypdal
    • 1
  • Steffen Kallbekken
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO)Oslo

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