Rights: © Copyright. University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved. Published 10 June 2008 Download

Adam Vonk explains what happens after we remove the oil and gas from the ground. We are left with a void that may just fill up with water, a space that is no longer useful as there are no hydrocarbons stored, but maybe we can use it. There is an idea that perhaps we can take some of the excess CO2 that is in our environment and pump it into these empty reservoirs and store it there. This idea is called CO2 sequestration.


My work allows me to predict and find out where reservoir rocks are, and so those reservoir rocks might contain gas or oil. Once that gas or oil is extracted from those rocks, then you are left with a void which is potentially full of water, or something that is not as useful as it was when it contained hydrocarbons. So there’s quite a popular concept now in petroleum geoscience and it’s called CO2 sequestration. That involves the geological storage of carbon dioxide. The principle is that we can extract CO2 from an industrial factory out of the emissions that are going up the chimney, compress that into a sort of semi-liquid, semi-gas sort of substance, transport that to where the old petroleum reservoirs were and inject that into the ground. And that will be stored within that geological reservoir. So it’s… it’s the first sort of steps into actually storing and taking out some of this carbon dioxide that humanity has been putting into the atmosphere over the last, you know, few hundred years. It’s quite a popular topic, and a lot of people see this as one sort of measure to combat climate change.