New DOE “Best Practices” manual features top strategies for carbon storage wells

Washington, DC — Best practices for managing wells used to store carbon dioxide (CO2) in geologic formations are the focus of a publication just released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

The newest manual in the Department’s series on current best practices associated with carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), Carbon Storage Systems and Well Management Activities covers the planning, permitting, design, drilling, implementation, and decommissioning of CO2 storage wells.

The manual builds on lessons learned through NETL research, the experiences of the laboratory’s regional partnerships in conducting CCUS field tests, and the acquired knowledge of industries that have been actively drilling wells for more than 100 years. NETL is part of DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy.

CCUS is a promising option for reducing CO2 emissions from anthropogenic sources and helping mitigate climate change. Depleted oil and gas reservoirs, unmineable coal beds, brine-filled rock formations, and other deep underground geologic features are all potentially suitable for safe and secure CO2 storage. The recently released 2012 North American Carbon Storage Atlas, estimates geologic storage capacity to permanently store at least 500 years worth of CO2 emissions from stationary sources in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The new manual provides an overview of the well-management activities typically associated with CCUS projects, beginning with pre-injection planning and continuing through post-injection operations. It is not a “how to” book for developing these projects; rather, it provides a roadmap and resource for lessons learned about well-management issues and what project planners and operators can expect as a project unfolds.

The manual discusses the types of experts needed for a successful CCUS project team—from technical scientists and engineers to nontechnical legal counsel, economists, and communicators. It also informs the general public about the rigorous approach that project developers undertake to ensure human and environmental safety as they design, drill, maintain, and close these wells.

Carbon Storage Systems and Well Management Activities is the eighth CCUS best practices manual released by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Other manuals published to date are:

  • Risk Analysis and Simulation for Geologic Storage of CO2
  • Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships’ Simulation and Risk Assessment Case Histories
  • Terrestrial Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide
  • Geologic Storage Formation Classifications
  • Site Screening, Selection, and Initial Characterization for Storage of CO2 in Deep Geologic Formations
  • Monitoring, Verification, and Accounting of CO2 Found in Deep Geologic Formations