Alcalde J, Heinemann N, James A, et al. A criteria-driven approach to the CO2 storage site selection of East Mey for the acorn project in the North Sea. Mar Pet Geol. 2021:105309. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2021.105309
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an essential tool in the fight against climate change. Any prospective storage site must meet various criteria that ensure the effectiveness, safety and economic viability of the storage operations. Finding the most suitable site for the storage of the captured CO2 is an essential part of the CCS chain of activity. This work addresses the site selection of a second site for the Acorn CCS project, a project designed to develop a scalable, full-chain CCS project in the North Sea (offshore northeast Scotland). This secondary site has been designed to serve as a backup and upscaling option for the Acorn Site, and has to satisfy pivotal project requirements such as low cost and high storage potential. The methodology followed included the filtering of 113 input sites from the UK CO2Stored database, according to general and project-specific criteria in a multi-staged approach. This criteria-driven workflow allowed for an early filtering out of the less suitable sites, followed by a more comprehensive comparison and ranking of the 15 most suitable sites. A due diligence assessment was conducted of the top six shortlisted sites to produce detailed assessment of their storage properties and suitability, including new geological interpretation and capacity calculations for each site. With the new knowledge generated during this process, a critical comparison of the sites led to selection of East Mey as the most suitable site, due to its outstanding storage characteristics and long-lasting hydrocarbon-production history, that ensure excellent data availability to risk-assess storage structures. A workshop session was held to present methods and results to independent stakeholders; feedback informed the final selection criteria. This paper provides an example of a criteria-driven approach to site selection that can be applied elsewhere.