Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on May 19, 2008
I’m not a fan of the continued reliance on natural gas and oil to meet our energy needs. I’m also willing to discuss interesting interim solutions, especially if these interim solutions are already a reality. That’s what’s happening in the North Sea off Norway right now, where companies are pumping tons of natural gas out of the ground and pumping CO2 back in — nearly 2,800 tons per day.
Here’s how it works. The natural gas is pumped out of the ground with oil rigs like we see all over the world, the CO2 (which comes with the gas) is extracted, and then CO2 is pumped back into the Norwegian Continental Shelf in an area known as the Utsira formation. The Utsira is made from sandstone and has ample pockets to store CO2. Normally when natural gas is harvested, the CO2 just escapes into the atmosphere. At the Sleipner West oil field, the CO2 is trapped underground in pockets in the sandstone.
Skeptical? Me, too. But the folks at Sleipner have been doing it since 1996 and have perfected the technique. And if the alternative is to release the CO2 into the atmosphere, then these guys are ahead of the game.
We must remember that this is only an interim solution, however. We simply have to move away from liquid dinosaur as our main source of energy and find something that is more sustainable. In the meantime, we’ll pump up the Utsira. Hopefully it won’t pop.
Check out an interactive energy map of the North Sea. Caution: Norwegian required.