DNV GL Conducts Largest Controlled Release of Carbon Dioxide From an Underwater Pipeline
Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is gaining momentum to meet stringent climate change goals and secure energy supplies for the future. To fully understand the environmental and safety implications associated with the development of carbon dioxide pipelines, DNV GL is conducting the oil and gas industry’s largest ever controlled release of carbon dioxide from an underwater pipeline at its full-scale Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre in Cumbria, UK.
Photo courtesy of DNV GL.
The planned underwater release, scheduled to start in January, is part of an international joint industry project (JIP) to develop safety guidelines on the use of offshore carbon dioxide pipelines. Companies participating in the JIP are Norway’s Gassnova, Brazil’s Petrobras, the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, the UK’s National Grid, and DNV GL. Italy’s Eni is expected to join the JIP in early 2016.
This is the second experimental phase, which will run for 3 months and will involve releases in a 40-m-diameter, 12-m-deep pond at the Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre.
“This is the largest experimental investigation to date of underwater CO2 releases, which will study the effects of depth on measured and observed parameters,” said Gary Tomlin, vice president of safety and risk, with DNV GL at Spadeadam. “The testing is designed around what is already known about underwater natural gas (methane) leaks and the possible occurrence of CO2 hydrates collecting on pipework. By using high-speed, underwater cameras and other measurement techniques, we can examine the configuration and characteristics of the released gas. It will allow us to see whether it reaches the surface and analyze what happens.”
The installation of offshore carbon dioxide pipelines linked to depleted subsea gas reservoirs is a possible solution to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and large industrial sources. The transportation of carbon dioxide through offshore pipelines may also increase due to enhanced oil recovery programs.
The first phase of experiments are currently under way at Spadeadam and involves small-scale, controlled carbon dioxide releases from a 3-in. nominal bore pipeline in a 8.5-m-diameter, 3-m-deep water tank and are expected to be completed by December.
Spadeadam is one of a network of 18 laboratories and testing centres operated by DNV GL on three continents. The facility provides companies with the rare opportunity to undertake full-scale fire, explosion, and release experiments, to demonstrate whether equipment and components are fit for purpose; to test new products, techniques or processes; and to provide data to validate computer models. DNV GL are opening a new major hazard training and conference facility at the site in April 2016.
“Developing best-practice guidance through this ground-breaking project will help the CCUS industry establish itself as it begins the rollout of vital carbon abatement technology,” said Hari Vamadevan, regional manager, UK and Sub-Saharan Africa, DNV GL—Oil & Gas. “Spadeadam puts theory and desktop modeling to the test to prove the limits, capabilities, and behaviors of both small- and large-scale operations in real-world situations. The data gathered from this large-scale experimental program will enable adjustments to be made to computer modelling of CO2 dispersion. Even larger-scale, controlled testing in the natural environment may subsequently take place.”
Experimental findings are shared periodically with JIP participants so that next steps can be refined. Carbon dioxide testing at Spadeadam will conclude by June 2016.