Companies to Inject Millions of Tons of CO2 Underground. Will It Stay Put?

"A new report highlights the risk 120,000 abandoned oil and gas wells pose to carbon dioxide storage in Louisiana, home to more proposals to pump the greenhouse gas underground than any other state."

"After more than a century of pulling carbon from underground, a rush is underway to pump it back down. Companies have applied for scores of permits across the country to inject carbon dioxide deep into the earth. Several projects have already been approved.

With industry planning to inject tens of millions of tons annually, a looming question is whether the climate-warming gas will stay underground.

The most likely points of failure, experts say, could be some of the millions of abandoned oil and gas wells that perforate the nation, often in the same areas targeted for storing carbon dioxide underground. A new report underscores the risk those wells pose in Louisiana, home to more proposed carbon storage projects than any other state.

There are about 120,000 abandoned wells in Louisiana overlying geological zones that could store carbon dioxide, more than 13,000 of which were plugged before modern standards were adopted in 1953, according to a report published by the Center for Applied Environmental Science at the Environmental Integrity Project, a watchdog group. A separate count, by the Louisiana-based advocacy group Healthy Gulf, looked within a 5-mile radius of the proposed projects and found about 7,000 oil and gas wells."

Nicholas Kusnetz reports for Inside Climate News March 20, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 03/22/2024