Introduction to CCUS: Sustainable Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is now the most significant greenhouse gas, contributing over 70% of the total effect on climate change as of 2018. During the last decade, there have been many new environmental policies all with large scale reduction of CO2 emissions at their heart. This includes the 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement, which pledged to keep global temperature rise below 2­°C. However, a there is a huge rise in population predicted throughout the rest of the 21st Century, which will result in increased energy demand. Given the current state of the energy transition, fossil fuels are still expected to account for two thirds of global energy consumption by 2050, and thus the need for emissions abatement becomes apparent to meet these temperature targets agreed in the environmental policies.

GHG concentration graphs
Concentration increases of GHGs after AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023 — IPCC

In an era where sustainability and environmental consciousness have taken centre stage, industries around the world are seeking innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint. One such solution is Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), a process that holds potential for mitigating the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on our planet.

Understanding CCUS

CCUS is a comprehensive approach aimed at capturing CO2 emissions generated from industrial processes, power plants, and other sources, before they are released into the atmosphere. The captured CO2 is then either utilised in industrial applications or safely stored underground to prevent its release into the air. This latter process is where Merlin can provide valuable assistance to our clients.

The Three Pillars of CCUS:

Carbon capture, utilisation and storage

1. Capture: This initial step involves the extraction of CO2 from industrial processes before it is emitted into the atmosphere. Various technologies, including pre-combustion capture and post-combustion capture, are employed to achieve this.

2. Utilisation: Captured CO2 can be repurposed in a range of applications including production of chemicals, fuels and building materials. It can also be injected into hydrocarbon reservoirs to enhance production. Merlin specialises in the latter, notably enhanced oil recovery (EOR). This involves injecting CO2 into depleted oil reservoirs to facilitate the recovery of additional hydrocarbons. The deployment of CO2 may encompass gas injection into the reservoir, targeting the gas cap, or integration within a water-alternate-gas (WAG) injection strategy.

3. Storage: If repurposing is not a viable option, the captured CO2 can be safely stored underground, deep beneath the Earth’s surface. These formations act as natural containment structures, preventing the released CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is also an area where Merlin could provide support by carrying out rigorous risk analysis, identification and delineation of suitable storage sites and their definition of storage capacities.  Merlin can also integrate subsurface data in 3D models to better understand expected CO2 behaviours within the storage site.

These aspects will be discussed in more detail in subsequent blogs in this series.

Merlin Energy’s Commitment to Sustainable Practices

Merlin CCS services

Merlin Energy Resources Limited is committed to supporting the energy transition and we are working hard to support the CCUS revolution. Merlin recognise the critical role CCUS plays in the global effort towards a sustainable future.

With a wealth of expertise in subsurface interpretation covering geology, geophysics, and reservoir engineering, we bring a holistic approach to CCUS projects. Our capabilities extend from identifying suitable storage sites to conducting risk assessments and providing technical support throughout the process.

Transforming Challenges into Opportunities

While the transition to a low-carbon future is undoubtedly a complex endeavour, CCUS represents a beacon of hope. By capturing and repurposing or safely storing CO2 emissions, we can significantly reduce the environmental impact of industry in the short term while other technological breakthroughs are sought.

Merlin Energy Resources Limited is proud to be a part of this transformative journey. Through our unwavering commitment to sustainability and our dedication to advancing CCUS technologies, we are working towards a future where environmental stewardship and industrial progress go hand in hand.

Stay tuned for the next episode in our CCUS series, where we will delve deeper into the methodologies involved in capturing carbon dioxide emissions.

For more information about Merlin Energy Resources Limited and our contributions to CCUS projects, visit our website.