"How Carbon Stored Underground Could Find Its Way Back Into the Atmosphere"

"Generous federal tax credits are driving the onrush of carbon capture and storage projects being proposed in the U.S. But like a game of whack-a-mole, there’s a chance the planet-warming emissions could seep back up into the atmosphere after they are injected underground.

How? Through any one of the thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells throughout the country. Louisiana alone has 4,500 abandoned wells and more than 21,000 inactive wells. Nationwide, there could be as many as 3 million such wells. Despite the numerous “holes” in the ground, companies including Occidental Petroleum, Denbury and Blue Sky are rushing to purchase the underground spaces, generally deep underground, and sometimes in the spaces that once held oil and gas. So far, more than two dozen storage sites in Louisiana are publicly known, including the most controversial, under Lake Maurepas.

“Those wells are like straws in the marsh,” said Alex Kolker, Louisiana coastal geologist at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. “It’s a conduit for carbon dioxide to reach the surface.”"

Terry L. Jones and Pam Radtke report for Floodlight September 26, 2023.

Source: Floodlight, 09/27/2023