‘China’s harmful greenhouse gases could be trapped underground’

Geoscientists say three depleted oil fields could provide decades of secure gas storage

By Jonny Bairstow

Scientists say the geology in one of China’s most heavily industrialised regions is well suited to permanently trapping carbon dioxide gas in rocks deep underground.

Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) researchers say implementing a new approach to the technology could massively reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality in the Pearl River Mouth Basin.

Despite the region being unsuited to having its carbon stores closed in with a single-seal cap rock as is commonly done in Europe and North America, researchers say by dispersing the gas into microscopic droplets it could settle in the rocks pores and stay there.

The geoscientists say three depleted oil fields in the Huizhou area could provide decades of secure gas storage offshore for CCS projects in the region.

Stuart Haszeldine, Professor at the University of Edinburgh and SCCS Director, said: “It’s a bit like having a damp sponge of carbon dioxide spread throughout the rock. None of the carbon dioxide can escape, even though there is no single seal.

“The work is applicable to many reservoirs in China and globally and can upgrade storage resources, which are currently unavailable.”