Potential for storage of carbon dioxide in the rocks beneath the East Irish Sea

TitlePotential for storage of carbon dioxide in the rocks beneath the East Irish Sea
Publication TypeTyndall Working Paper
SeriesTyndall Centre Working Papers
Tyndall Consortium Institution


Secondary TitleTyndall Centre Working Paper 100
Keywordsbridging strategy, carbon dioxide, East Irish Sea, Geological Storage, Ormskirk Sandstone Formation
AuthorsKirk, K.
Year of Publication2006

The potential for geological carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in the East Irish Sea Basin, UK was assessed as part of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change theme: “Decarbonising Modern Societies” - a study aimed at identifying CO2 sources and sinks suitable for geological storage and assessing the geological CO2 storage concept as a bridging strategy towards renewable and new energy technologies. The East Irish Sea Basin, which lies between the Isle of Man and the west coast of Cumbria, Lancashire and North Wales, has considerable potential to store CO2, particularly in its oil and gas fields. Its storage capacity was evaluated because it is well placed to receive CO2 from power plant and other industrial sources in North Wales and Northwest England. The main reservoir rocks in the East Irish Sea Basin form part of the Sherwood Sandstone Group, which is the equivalent of the Bunter Sandstone Formation in the southern North Sea. Most of the potential to store CO2 lies in the Ormskirk Sandstone Formation (the uppermost Formation in Sherwood Sandstone Group), to which the Mercia Mudstone Group forms an effective cap rock. The best storage potential is likely to be in the larger gas fields such as Morecambe South and North when they are depleted. The calculated CO2 storage capacity in the oil and gas fields of the East Irish Sea Basin is approximately 1047 million tonnes. Further storage potential exists in newly discovered fields where there is no data yet in the public domain. Further potential may also exist in non-hydrocarbon-bearing closed structures in the Ormskirk Sandstone. The total storage capacity of these structures is estimated to be 630 million tonnes. However, the fact that they do not contain hydrocarbons suggests the possibility that they may not be gas-tight or they do not lie on the migration path of any oil and gas generated in the basin.

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