What to do with the holes in my back garden

Heikki Jutila

Principal Petroleum Engineer

As humankind has enjoyed a lengthy period of relatively cheap energy during the ‘fossil fuel era’ (FFE) during which it had decided to poke a large number of holes in the ground. These holes have been for exploratory purposes looking for various types of resources but very frequently, especially during the latter half of the 20th century, used for extracting combustible fluids. These fluids tend to be various hydrocarbons, both the hydro (H2) and carbon (C) release a lot of energy when combusted, the harmful by-product being CO2 the concentration of which erodes the extra insulation layer around our Mother Earth.

Now as the insulation layer works like an electric blanket on overdrive, the notion has come to mind that it would be useful to use the previously mentioned holes, or the technology developed when drilling them, to store that extra CO2 or even extract some of emissions from the atmosphere.

For this purpose, Scotland, especially Aberdeen and its environs, has a huge resource in know-how and technology to deliver. It is estimated that to reduce the CO2 to acceptable levels and keep the global warming as close as possible to 1.5℃ a vast number of disposal wells will have to be drilled over the coming years[1],[2]. These references describe the sedimentary basins where the hydrocarbons have been produced from and, where they could be easily (re)injected in abandoned oil & gas fields or virgin saline aquifers. See attached links

The project will be of considerable magnitude and will take several years. There is still a lot of opportunity for Aberdeen during the energy transition period.

[1] https://www.scottishenergyforum.org/events-archive/the-james-watt-lecture-2021-hydrogen-and-ccs-could-it-be-the-decarbonisation-game-changer/

[2] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-54363-z

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