French oil and gas giant Total recently launched €60 million project to capture carbon from a gas-fired power plant near Pau in southwest France, treat it and transport it 30 kms along an existing gas line to a depleted gas reservoir in the Lacq field, one of France’s major natural gas sources. Here, the CO2 will be compressed and injected 4,500 m into the ground.
It is one of the first pilots of its kind in the world in that it tests the entire process of CO2 capture and storage from start to finish. Total has been careful to include a wide-ranging stakeholder consultation process to address concerns raised by environmental NGOs about long-term hazards posed by underground storage of CO2.
CO2 must be stored safely and permanently in locations that do not allow thousands of years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage states that “if continuous leakage of CO2 occurs, it could at least in part , offset the benefits of CCS for mitigating climate change.” Possible risk to biodiversity and waterways are as yet poorly understood. A sudden, large-scale escape of CO2 could have severe consequences for humans, plants and animals