Open Access Article

Title: Potential technical hazards associated with four North American carbon capture and sequestration projects

Authors: Mirhamed Sarkarfarshi; Chris Ladubec; Robert Gracie; Maurice B. Dusseault; William Leiss; Daniel Krewski

Addresses: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada ' Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada ' Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada ' Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON N2L3G1, Canada ' McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 600 Peter Morand, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 3Z7, Canada ' McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 600 Peter Morand, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 3Z7, Canada; School of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 600 Peter Morand, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 3Z7, Canada; Risk Sciences International, 251 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 700Ottawa, ON K1P 5J6, Canada

Abstract: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) risks depend upon the site geology, potential CO2-caprock reactions, anthropogenic pathways (legacy wellbores), and well construction and operation. Herein, we assess the major risks, termed 'georisks', acknowledging that quantitative description must be site-specific, although pathway impact generalisations are possible. We discuss geological and pathway issues to guide general site selection practices to reduce georisks. Events that trigger hazards and the consequences are presented for leakage, low storage capacity/injectivity, the release of hazardous gases and materials, surface uplift, and Induced seismicity. A supplementary literature-sourced hazard tabulation was developed with focus on four large-scale North American CCS projects (Quest Project, Weyburn Project, Project Pioneer and FutureGen). Each hazard is classified based on the project phase and trigger activity. The risks of CO2, brine, or other fluid leakage through wells (injection, monitoring, decommissioned legacy wells) remain uncertain, but legacy well gas leakage is common, rather than exceptional, despite modern cementing and completion practices.

Keywords: carbon sequestration; carbon dioxide; risk; georisk; hazard; carbon capture and storage; CCS; leakage; seismic activities; surface uplift; containment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJRAM.2019.103341

International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 2019 Vol.22 No.3/4, pp.359 - 383

Available online: 25 Oct 2019 *