National importance

The Climate Change Act of 2008 committed the UK to an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 relative to a 1990 baseline. The parliamentary Committee on Climate Change has identified CCS as a key technology to achieve this. Along with Norway, the UK controls Europe's principal CO2 storage resource in its offshore basins. DiSECCS will help to provide the knowledge required to select, characterise and operate reservoirs that are mechanically suitable for large-scale storage (injecting tens to hundreds of millions of tonnes CO2 per year). It is vital that early projects avoid unexpected levels of seismicity or poorly controlled geomechanical instability, and DiSECCS research is designed to ensure this. Large-scale rollout of CCS in the UK also provides the possibility of storing CO2 from other European countries, opening up major additional financial opportunities. DiSECCS will also underpin development of a niche monitoring capability, applicable worldwide (an analogous situation emerged in 2010 when BGS specialist shallow monitoring teams were employed by the Weyburn CO2-EOR project in Canada to test and refute leakage claims). DiSECCS social research will examine controversial aspects of all underground injection activity and the aim is that our findings will contribute to improving the response to societal concerns and hence promote public confidence in future storage projects. DiSECCS research is also closely relevant to time lapse monitoring of UK hydrocarbon production, particularly those fields utilising fracture permeability and is also of direct application to 'fracking', such as in shale gas exploitation.