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Risk, liability, and economic issues with long-term CO2 storage—A review

March 14, 2017

Given a scarcity of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, there is a great deal of uncertainty in the risks, liability, and their cost implications for geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO2). The probabilities of leakage and the risk of induced seismicity could be remote, but the volume of geologic CO2 storage (GCS) projected to be necessary to have a significant impact on increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is far greater than the volumes of CO2 injected thus far. National-level estimates of the technically accessible CO2storage resource (TASR) onshore in the United States are on the order of thousands of gigatons of CO2 storage capacity, but such estimates generally assume away any pressure management issues. Pressure buildup in the storage reservoir is expected to be a primary source of risk associated with CO2 storage, and only a fraction of the theoretical TASR could be available unless the storage operator extracts the saltwater brines or other formation fluids that are already present in the geologic pore space targeted for CO2 storage. Institutions, legislation, and processes to manage the risk, liability, and economic issues with CO2 storage in the United States are beginning to emerge, but will need to progress further in order to allow a commercial-scale CO2 storage industry to develop in the country. The combination of economic tradeoffs, property rights definitions, liability issues, and risk considerations suggests that CO2 storage offshore of the United States may be more feasible than onshore, especially during the current (early) stages of industry development.

Publication Year 2017
Title Risk, liability, and economic issues with long-term CO2 storage—A review
DOI 10.1007/s11053-016-9303-6
Authors Steven T. Anderson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Natural Resources Research
Index ID 70185025
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Energy Resources Science Center