Impact and detectability of hypothetical CCS offshore seep scenarios as an aid to storage assurance and risk assessment

Jerry Blackford*, Guttorm Alendal, Helge Avlesen, Ashley Brereton, Pierre W. Cazenave, Baixin Chen, Marius Dewar, Jason Holt, Jack Phelps

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
107 Downloads (Pure)


Carbon Capture and Storage has the potential to make a significant contribution to the mitigation of climate change, however there is a regulatory and societal obligation to demonstrate storage robustness and minimal local environmental impact. This requires an understanding of environmental impact potential and detectability of a range of hypothetical leak scenarios. In the absence of a significant body of real-world release experiments this study collates the results of 86 modelled scenarios of offshore marine releases derived from five different model systems. This synthesis demonstrates a consistent generalised relationship between leak rate, detectability and impact potential of a wide range of hypothetical releases from CO2 storage, which can be described by a power law. For example a leak of the order of 1 T per day should be detectable at, at least, 60 m distance with an environmental impact restricted to less than a 15 m radius of the release point. Small releases are likely to require bottom mounted (lander) monitoring to ensure detection. In summary this work, when coupled with a quantification of leakage risk can deliver a first order environmental impact assessment as an aid to the consenting process. Further this work demonstrates that non-catastrophic release events can be detected at thresholds well below levels which would undermine storage performance or significantly impact the environment, given an appropriate monitoring strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102949
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Early online date24 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Assurance
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Detection
  • Environmental impact
  • Offshore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • General Energy
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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