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Geological Storage Pilots

The objective is to carry out the identification and geological characterisation of new prospective storage sites for CO2 (including the 3D architecture of the storage complex) in promising regions of future demonstration and deployment (onshore or offshore) through the implementation of new CO2 storage pilots. This will result in new data, knowledge and detailed models of potential storage complexes and their response to dynamic pressurisation. Important aspects include (but are not limited to): detailed geological characterisation, including faults and facture systems; analysis of initial stress field and geomechanical behaviour of the storage formations and seals under varying stress and pore-pressure conditions; estimation of storage capacity; accurate modelling of injectivity; overall storage risk assessment, including induced seismicity and blow-out or blockage during injection, and including proposed mitigation action. Detailed plans should propose site-specific solutions for CO2 injection strategies, pressure management, mitigation of induced seismicity, and MMV (measurement, monitoring and verification).

For geological storage, in particular onshore, public acceptance is paramount. Therefore projects are expected to identify and engage relevant end users and societal stakeholders and analyse their concerns and needs using appropriate techniques and methods from the social sciences and humanities, noting the significant differences in potential regional consequences where the CO2 stored comes from power versus industry.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 7 to 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The total geological storage capacity in Europe is estimated to be over 300 billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2[[]]. This is sufficient to permanently hold all the CO2 that could be captured in the EU for decades to come. The significant lead time for the development and permitting of geological storage, which is in the order of 7-10 years, demands speeding-up storage site identification and characterisation in Europe. The appraisal and development of storage capacity in promising regions has to provide the necessary confidence that the required CO2 storage capacity will be available when needed. In addition, storage pilots will play a crucial role in unlocking European CO2 storage capacity, assessing the potential risks and visualising CCS technology to the wider public. A portfolio of pilot storage sites in different geological settings, onshore or offshore, either in depleted hydrocarbon fields or in deep saline aquifers, is therefore needed to catalyse full‐scale deployment of CCS in the medium to longer term.

This topic responds to the targets in the SET-Plan CCUS Implementation Plan[[]] to have at least 3 new CO2 storage pilots operating in different settings, and SET Plan countries having completed feasibility studies on applying CCS to a set of clusters of major industrial and other sources by 2025-2030.

Detailed geological characterisation and development planning of promising and safe storage sites and successful realisation of storage pilots will facilitate the subsequent application for storage permits and the kick-start of CCS in the concerned Member States and Associated Countries. Such a ‘pipeline of sweet spots’ can provide a baseline for estimation of storage cost, increase public awareness and help prepare the ground for full and active development into operational storage sites in the mid 2020's.