DNV GL updates subsea CO2 experimental program

Offshore staff

SPADEADAM, UKDNV GL is preparing what it claims will be the oil and gas industry’s largest ever controlled release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from an underwater pipeline at its Spadeadam Testing and Research Center in northwest England.

The release, due to start in January, is part of an international joint industry project "Sub-C-O2" to develop safety guidelines on the use of offshore CO2 pipelines.

Participants are Norway’s Gassnova, Petrobras, the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, the UK’s National Grid, and DNV GL. ENI is set to join early next year.

This phase of the project will last for three months and will involve releases in a 40-m (131-ft) diameter, 12-m (39-ft) deep pond.

Goals are to study the effects of depth on measured and observed parameters, said Gary Tomlin, vice president safety and risk. “The testing is designed around what is already known about underwater natural gas (methane) leaks and the possible occurrence of CO2 hydrates collecting on pipework.

“By using high-speed, underwater cameras and other measurement techniques, we can examine the configuration and characteristics of the released gas. It will allow us to see whether it reaches the surface and analyze what happens.”

Offshore CO2 pipelines linked to depleted subsea gas reservoirs are under review as a way of offsetting CO2 emissions from power plants and large industrial sources. Transportation of CO2 through offshore pipelines may also increase as a result of enhanced oil recovery program.

Current first-phase experiments at Spadeadam involve small-scale, controlled CO2 releases from a 3-in. nominal bore pipeline in an 8.5-m (28-ft) diameter, 3-m (9.8-ft) deepwater tank.

DNV GL will open a new hazard training and conference facility at the site next April.

Hari Vamadevan, regional manager, UK and Sub Saharan Africa, DNV GL – Oil & Gas, said: “The data gathered from this large-scale experimental program will enable adjustments to be made to computer modeling of CO2 dispersion. Even larger-scale, controlled testing in the natural environment may subsequently take place.”

CO2 testing at Spadeadam is expected to be completed by June 2016.


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