Reducing the cost of carbon storage

Problem statement

Frequently regulators require decades-long monitoring of CO2 storage sites, posing issues of cost, extended liability, and social licence to operate where current monitoring and verification (M&V) programs rely on regular and obtrusive surface-based surveillance.

The CO2CRC Otway Stage 3 CO2 Storage Management and Subsurface M&V Project is designed to provide M&V technology that does not need to be gold-plated, but fit-for-purpose and available on-demand. We will be investigating subsurface monitoring methods that are spatially specific, continuous, unobtrusive and will ‘raise a flag’ if an issue is detected.

Project proposal

From 2017, CO2CRC will drill up to five injection and monitoring wells at its exceptionally well characterised Otway Research Facility in Victoria, Australia. Numerous monitoring technologies in different configurations will be tested. From subsurface seismic with fibre optic receivers, geophones in different deployment types, to pressure monitoring including above zone and at the injection interval.

Regulatory frameworks will be developed for use by Australian regulators and for adoption internationally. Through the same period we will offer a number of added opportunities that may slot into the core project if sufficient interest is evident.

We will provide a science and business case where the utilisation of existing downhole technology, of mature use in the Oil & Gas industry, and in combination with advances in geophysical predictive modelling can;

  1. Provide risk targeted subsurface monitoring options to potentially replace more costly and invasive surface based monitoring techniques.
  2. Reduce the frequency of land/ sea based monitoring acquisition during the operational phase of a CCS project.
  3. Reduce the footprint of monitoring systems.
  4. Reduce reaction time to analyze potential events, through real-time/ on-demand monitoring capabilities, on development & containment of the plume.
Delivering outcomes

We will deliver outcomes in this project by:
Installing a sophisticated monitoring system in the subsurface through up to five new wells. The monitoring system has the potential to be reliable, cost effective, permanently deployed and will provide improved resolution.

  • Injecting up to 40,000 tonnes of CO2 to;
    • Generate a plume analogous to a CO2 leakage event,
    • Demonstrate saline formation injection and storage operations,
    • Appraise the behaviour of CO2 in the subsurface, and
    • Quantify the effectiveness of capillary and solution trapping.
  • Operate a subsurface monitoring array prior and during CO2 injection to;
    • Benchmark performance of in-well pressure and seismic tools
    • Develop deployment and operational processes for new technologies
    • Establish minimum detection thresholds
    • Improve operator response times to anomalies in plume development
    • Provide visualised 4D evolution of plume through in-well seismic monitoring
    • Validate pre-injection modelling of plume storage security.
Benefits for participants in the project

Participants will gain significant intellectual property and learnings of workflows, regulatory frameworks, and technologies generated by the project. Joining the project with substantial contributions provides representation on the project’s steering committee having influence over the research direction (within the core concepts) and potential additional projects you may wish to bring to the site.


Project value and investment

The Australian Government has invested A$23.54M towards the A$45M project. Their contribution comprises the construction of up to five injection and monitoring wells, and the associated downhole instrumentation that shall provide a scalable framework for industrial scale CCS projects.
With more than half of the funding commitment already met, CO2CRC is seeking interest from  commercial partners in the project. Commitments to participate are sought through 2017
with payments not scheduled to begin until 2018.

a ‘Toolbox of Technologies and Methodologies’

Project benefits
  • Subsurface Seismic monitoring – This subsurface solution will replace the need for on-going repeat surface seismic acquisition thus saving significant operational costs (tens of millions onshore and hundreds of millions offshore)


  • Pressure monitoring including above zone and injection interval – Greatly expands the volume of CO2 storage complex being monitored without the need for surface based data acquisition.


  • Array of research wells configured to provide optimal system for validating seismic and pressure tomography across CO2 plume as it develops. – Allows commercial sites to design a practical M&V operation using the fewest number of monitoring wells.


  • Utilisation of complementary datasets as early warning systems for approaching CO2 plume – Zero data acquisition cost systems for long range monitoring.


  • Create a M&V regulatory regime in conjunction with industry members and stakeholders – increases certainty for Operators, Regulators and Financiers around regulatory requirements and shortens liability time-frames in monitoring requirements.
Our project philosophy
  • Fit-for-purpose storage operations

Pursue technologies that reduce the cost and increases the efficiency of storage management and M&V for long-term injection and post-injection monitoring compared with existing practice.

  • Innovativeness

Ensure technologies are applied in a novel way to produce game-changing outcomes for the management of CO2 storage sites, taking full advantage of CO2CRC’s Otway Research Facility’s unique characteristics to test the effectiveness of these technologies.

  • Transferability of research

Ensure outcomes of research programs are applicable to CO2 storage sites anywhere in the world and learnings from Otway’s onshore M&V activities are transferable to other onshore sites and the offshore environment.

  • Stakeholder management

Develop technologies that reduce the impact of M&V activities, minimise interfacing with the environment, other industries such as farming, fishing, shipping, O&G operations, and provide early detection of leaks from storage sites.

  • Regulatory considerations

Develop technologies and practices that assist regulators to shape policy settings and provide operators with effective means to reduce the cost of achieving regulatory compliance and managing storage risk

  • Research collaboration

Ensure research projects facilitate collaborative R&D through laboratory and field research, maximising outcomes of strong relevance to industry.

Calls for expressions of interest

We invite you to be part of a dynamic CCS demonstration program and are keen to discuss with you how our Stage 3 Project scope, outcomes and ‘Toolbox of Technologies and Methodologies’ can better meet your CCS objectives.

Scientific Participants: An EoI from scientific participants can include the development and evaluation of the broad project concepts, or the introduction of additional research and development projects, or monitoring technologies and application techniques.

Investor Participants: We invite governments and businesses to invest in Otway Stage 3 and become partners of CO2CRC Limited where there are synergies and mutual benefits for both parties. We seek partners who have an interest in accelerating the uptake of CCS or who are keen to drive research in a direction which is of strategic and commercial importance.

CO2CRC have invested A$23.5M in cash to fund this commencement of Otway Stage 3 and are seeking a similar amount from a small group of investors to deliver the full project outcomes.

Benefits of investing