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The Black Sea region faces significant challenges in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly from heavy industries like cement, lime, metals, and glass production, which contribute to 67% of Romania’s total CO2 emissions when combined with CO2 emissions from power generation. Amidst this landscape, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) emerges as a transformative solution with the potential to reshape the carbon-intensive Black Sea region into a low-carbon industrial hub, with Romania at its center as a CO2 storage hub.

Why Romania for CCS?

Romania stands as a mature hydrocarbon basin, boasting a rich history of oil and gas exploration with over 23,300 wells drilled and significant reserves discovered. This maturity offers unique advantages for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development, as depleted or declining hydrocarbon fields present well-characterised and secure CO2 storage sites. Leveraging existing infrastructure and wells for injection, and benefiting from extensive operational experience, Romania’s geological structures hold promise for efficient CO2 capture and storage.

Repurposing depleted wells for carbon dioxide injection

Building on the oil and gas industry’s wealth of knowledge in CO2 injection, repurposing depleted wells for carbon dioxide storage offers a practical avenue for accelerating CCS technology deployment for the Black Sea region.

The long history of utilizing CO2 injection techniques are backed by a robust technological framework and deep understanding of storage requirements.

However, ensuring well integrity is paramount to prevent leaks or fluid migration. Rigorous evaluations of well casings, cement barriers, and wellhead systems, coupled with robust maintenance protocols, are essential for long-term containment of CO2.

Well integrity for CO2 storage wells

Comprehensive evaluations of well integrity and control are essential to determine the suitability of wells for CO2 injection. To uphold well integrity, rigorous planning, routine inspections, and maintenance are imperative. Materials and designs must withstand the corrosive nature of CO2 and endure operational conditions over the storage site’s lifespan.

Regular assessments of well control measures, including contingency plans and pressure control systems, are necessary for both existing and newly constructed injection wells. Stringent requirements should be integrated from the design phase to ensure proper implementation throughout their operational lifespan.

Navigating regulatory and public awareness challenges

While Romania possesses favorable conditions for CCS deployment, particularly onshore, challenges persist in regulatory frameworks and public awareness. Legal adjustments are necessary to facilitate the development of transport and storage infrastructure at an industrial scale. Moreover, increasing public awareness and garnering support for CCS initiatives demand a strategic approach.

CCS potential in the Black Sea

As the Black Sea region will navigate its transition towards a low-carbon future, CCS emerges as a pivotal tool for mitigating GHG emissions. By capitalizing on Romania’s mature hydrocarbon sector and repurposing existing infrastructure to CO2 injection, Romania has the potential to lead the Black Sea and for that matter, the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in sustainable carbon management. However, addressing regulatory hurdles, securing financing, and enhancing public awareness will be critical steps in realizing this vision.

Ole-rygg Ole B. Rygg, PhD
Group Managing Director Wells at ABL Group
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