Appraisal of CO2 storage potential in compressional hydrocarbon-bearing basins: global assessment and case study in the Sichuan Basin (China)

Xiaolong Sun, Juan Alcalde, Enrique Gomez-Rivas, Lucía Struth, Gareth Johnson, Anna Travé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
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Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been proposed as a potential technology to mitigate climate change. However, there is currently a huge gap between the current global deployment of this technology and that which will be ultimately required. Whilst CO2 can be captured at any geographic location, storage of CO2 will be constrained by the geological storage potential in the area the CO2 is captured. The geological storage potential can be evaluated at a very high level according to the tectonic setting of the target area. To date, CCS deployment has been restricted to more favourable tectonic settings, such as extensional passive margin and post-rift basins and compressional foreland basins. However, to reach the adequate level of deployment, the potential for CCS of regions in different tectonic settings needs to be explored and assessed worldwide. Surprisingly, the potential of compressional basins for carbon storage has not been universally evaluated according to the global and regional carbon emission distribution. Here, we present an integrated source-to-sink analysis tool that
combines comprehensive, open-access information on basin distribution, hydrocarbon resources and CO2 emissions based on geographical information systems (GIS). Compressional settings host some of the most significant hydrocarbon-bearing basins and 36% of inland CO2 emissions but, to date, large-scale CCS facilities in compressional basins are concentrated in North America and the Middle East only. Our source-to-sink tool allows identifying five high-priority regions for prospective CCS development in compressional basins: North America, north-western South America, south-eastern Europe, the western Middle East and western China. We present a study of the characteristics of these areas in terms of CO2 emissions and CO2 storage potential. Additionally, we conduct a detailed case-study analysis of the Sichuan Basin
(China), one of the compressional basins with the greatest CO2 storage potential. Our results indicate that compressional basins will have to play a critical role in the future of CCS if this technology is to be implemented worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2309-2321
Number of pages13
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Issue number6
Early online date4 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • CO2 storage
  • compressional basins
  • CO2 emissions
  • Sichuan basin


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