The potential and practicality of offshore geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) subsea storage is being explored through a Department of Energy (DOE) supported project entitled “Southeast Regional Carbon Storage Partnership: Offshore Gulf of Mexico” (SECARB Offshore). SECARB Offshore supports the DOE’s long-term objective to ensure a comprehensive assessment of the potential to implement offshore CO2 subsea storage in all Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program Planning areas in the GOM. As an estimated 40% of U.S. anthropogenic CO2 emissions are generated in the southeast, with a large portion of these emissions generated within 100 km of the coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is a prime target for this type of storage. The project team has been assembling the knowledge base required for secure, long-term, large-scale CO2 subsea storage in the GOM with or without CO2 enhanced hydrocarbon recovery (CO2-EOR). The project team has confirmed that the storage potential in Cretaceous and Tertiary reservoirs in the eastern GOM is vast (e.g., ~1,000 Mt potential storage in the DeSoto Canyon Salt Basin alone). With the significant infrastructure already in place, abundant stacked saline formations, and depleted oil and gas reservoirs, the eastern GOM is an attractive prospect. However, offshore subsea CO2 storage has different challenges with respect to project development; monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA); and outreach as compared to onshore CO2 storage. Thus, a significant effort moving forward will be surrounding education and outreach to facilitate engagement with stakeholders in potential CO2 storage in the offshore GOM. Such materials will describe the potential for CO2 storage in the offshore GOM, highlight the environmental and economic benefits that could accrue to the Gulf Coast region in pursuing this potential, characterize the risks associated with this pursuit, and document how offshore CO2 storage is currently being pursued effectively globally. The efforts need to be tailored for specific stakeholders – for example, commercial and recreational fishing industries may have different concerns than government officials – to be effective.
The Flint, Michigan, water crisis began in 2014 after officials switched the water supply to the Flint River, which was highly corrosive to the city’s pipes. Years later, the situation on the ground is still dire. Pipes are being replaced, but your average Flint citizen has no idea where the replacement is done. Citizens have such a history of tap water problems (pre-2014 and COVID) that they just continue to go and get (or buy) bottled water… for everything. Regaining trust in the viability/potability of their tap water is at odds with a local administration that doesn’t want to spend any more money and can’t wait for the situation to resolve itself. The Flint water crisis highlights the need for accessible and (re)usable data by all stakeholders. For example, if the officials who had originally switched the water supply had access to data in a way that was usable to them that showed how switching the water source without changing treatment would impact the infrastructure and water quality, they may have taken steps to prevent the crisis in the first place. Flint citizens should have access to data that shows water quality information and the status of infrastructure updates, in a way that is useful to them. Access to usable data is not just a nice thing to have; it can be a matter of life and death. We will outline the basic rights and responsibilities of researchers, data professionals, institutions, and others with regards to improving data access and reusability. For example, stakeholders and community members should have access to data that impacts their communities, and resources (such as access to researchers) to understand that data in a way that is useful for their situation.