What is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is widely accepted to be a major contributor to global climate change. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) refers to the process of capturing CO2, transporting it to a storage site where it is captured to ensure it will not enter the atmosphere.

The Paris Agreement on climate change, signed in 2015, committed members of the UN to reduce their carbon output "as soon as possible" and to do their best to keep global warming "to well below 2°C” above pre-industrial levels. CCS is one tool in our arsenal to achieve this goal while allowing us to move through the energy transition cycle and continuing to meet demand.

The carbon capture and storage lifecycle

RPS works all around the world delivering specialist services across the asset lifecycle – from storage through transportation and capture – solving complex problems in an urbanising and resource-scarce world.

The CCS life cycle involves capturing CO2 from point source emitters and transporting it by either pipeline or ship and storing it in underground reservoirs. Thermal power generators, blue hydrogen gas production, and heavy industries such as iron, steel, cement, agrichemicals and petrochemicals are the major emitters. The cycle comprises: Capture, Transport, Store, Monitor.

CCS projects require the integration of several highly technical skills within an evolving regulatory and commercial environment. RPS has a unique mix of project management, planning, environmental, engineering, regulatory, metocean and sub-surface specialisms, which combine to assist clients in the effective design and implementation of CCS projects.


Capture of CO2 currently relies upon either a chemical solvent at the source, such as a flue from a power plant or via an energy intensive, and therefore expensive, direct air capture. Therefore, most current CCS projects propose removing CO2 directly from the processing source to keep costs low.


CO2 is transported in three states: gas, liquid and solid. Commercial-scale transport using tanks, pipelines and ships for gaseous and liquid carbon dioxide (supercritical state). Supercritical carbon dioxide is a fluid state of carbon dioxide where it is held at or above its critical temperature and critical pressure.

After capture, CO2 is then either dried for transportation, which limits the formation of carbonic acid that could detrimentally affect the pipeline system. Or, it’s compressed to liquid state, such as in Norcem’s Long Ship(s) Project, [see case study].


Injection of CO2 into deep geological formations utilises technologies that have been developed by the oil and gas industry over many years. Well drilling and completions technologies have been developed for optimal performance under extreme operating conditions such as high pressure, temperature and complex chemical environments.


To ensure safe CO2 storage and containment over long periods of time it is imperative that the storage design and monitoring reflects this and provides assurance to all stakeholders including site regulatory and licencing authorities as well as developers, investors and the general public.


Leading minds

Explore insights

A partner that delivers results

CCS is necessary to meet national and international climate change targets as set in the 2015 Paris Accord on climate change.

RPS is uniquely positioned to support the successful delivery of CCS projects. We routinely support our clients to deliver integrated infrastructure projects internationally - with strategic guidance, feasibility planning and specialised technical, commercial and operational advisory services at each stage of the CCS lifecycle.

We can call on years of general and specific industry experience to support our clients with the visualisation, conceptualisation and implementation of CCS and CO2-EOR (Enhance Oil Recovery) projects.

Following are some recent examples of the projects we have, or are delivering.

Pre-FEED study on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in support of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan

Ervia is the company responsible for the delivery of Ireland’s national gas and water infrastructure and services. RPS delivered a Pre-Front End Engineering Design Study (Pre-FEED Study) to Ervia to support the business case development for this CCS project in Ireland.

ERVIA site rendering

CO2 Injection Feasibility Study for Carbon capture and storage (CCS), Canada

Not all potential CCS projects are going to be economically viable.

Our client, a Canadian energy company, had an opportunity for an underground storage facility by converting a depleted gas reservoir to CO2 storage. RPS reservoir engineers supported them in determining the economic viability of this potential project.

drilling in Canada

Baseline 3D seismic survey for the Northern Endurance Partnership’s CCS project

RPS supported bp with 3D seismic survey optimisation and simultaneous operations (SIMOPS) management for the Northern Endurance Partnership baseline seismic survey. The dedicated saline CO2 storage reservoir has the capacity to store up to 450 million tonnes of CO2 and is part of the East Coast Cluster CCS project, including Net ZeroTeaside and ZeroCarbon Humber.

map of UK East Coast Cluster CCS project

Adapted from eastcoastcluster.co.uk

Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage - Baseline seismic survey planning and optimisation

On this ground-breaking carbon transport and storage project, RPS is supporting Northern Lights JV with acquiring baseline seismic data using our Osprey software.

Northern LightsJV is a Joint Venture owned by TotalEnergies, Equinor and Shell and is the transportation and storage component of the full carbon capture and storage (CCS) value chain initiative by the Norwegian state called “Longship”.

Map adapted from norlights.com

Norcem Carbon Capture and Storage project, Brevik, Norway

The cement industry accounts for 5-7% of global CO2 emissions annually. Granted Government funding in 2020, cement manufacturer Norcem will build a full-scale carbon capture and storage facility at their factory in Brevik. The aim of this project will be to reduce emissions by 400,000 tons of CO2 every year, accounting for almost 1% of the total emissions in Norway.

This project is considered one of the largest environmental projects ever initiated within Norwegian industry, and is of great importance not only for Norcem, but also for Norway and the EU in terms of reaching climate goals.

Norcem cement plant, Brevik Norway

Permitting the UK’s largest carbon capture and utilisation plant

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which includes carbon capture and utilisation (CCU), is positioned as one of our greatest weapons in the fight against climate change. Our Environmental Permitting team have played a vital role in bringing the UK's largest CCU project to life, helping to shape the future technology that will be key for industry in the pursuit of net zero carbon. 

Permitting carbon capture utilisation.png

Sleipner West - Carbon Capture and Storage 4D Seismic Monitoring, Norwegian North Sea

The objective of this carbon capture and storage (CCS) seismic survey was to monitor the distribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which had been injected into the 800 - 1100 m deep Utsira Fm. sandstone since 1996. Up until now, about 18 million tons of CO2 have been injected into the formation, and through time-lapse seismic studies the migration of the CO2 will be studied. 

Sleipner West Carbon Capture Storage plume movement

Image courtesy of Equinor ASA

NEW: 4 self-paced e-learning courses

These courses provide an awareness and understanding of subsurface CO2 storage, CO2 flow in the subsurface, and the key issues of reservoir depth, well design, reservoir lithology and quality, in relation to CCS.

self-paced e-learning for CCS - Learning in the flow of work

Our services

We provide most of the required capabilities in-house, saving our clients time and money as they tackle this important issue.

Permissions, licences, approvals and consents

Major infrastructure projects, including CCS developments, require a range of consents, permits and licences. These will only be issued once a coherent assessment of the environmental effects of the project has been undertaken. Active consultation with stakeholders, together with careful public education, is required as part of the public consultation process needed in many jurisdictions.

The need to secure the necessary permissions will apply across all stages and throughout the lifetime of the project, including, but not limited to:

  • Licensing of CO2 storage sites, onshore facilities, and offshore activities
  • Field development and drilling approvals
  • Retrofitting and repurposing existing infrastructure
  • Routing of pipelines to transport liquefied CO2
  • Construction of capture and compression facilities
  • Construction / adaptation of injection facilities
  • Decommissioning and permit surrender

How we help

RPS has deep expertise in securing planning consent,perm its and licences and undertaking environmental assessments for large infrastructure projects across a wide range of industry sectors. In the energy sector, this expertise is applied not only to CCS projects, but also in related areas such as gas storage, onshore and offshore windfarms, and LNG projects.

In all cases, high levels of exposure to planning systems, public and stakeholder consultation, public inquiry, and regulatory compliance are handled by a multi-disciplinary project team delivering the best possible information to inform sound decision making.

Although the concept of CCS projects has been around for sometime, its application has been limited. The UK regulators are still defining aspects of the regulatory requirements for some CCU/S technologies. RPS have assisted developers through this process working with our clients and the regulators to ensure a successful permitting/consenting outcome.

Projects we’ve delivered

  • Winnington CHP CCU - Environmental permit and abstraction licence applications, including air dispersion modelling to permit the operation of an amine absorption based carbon capture plant at the Tata Chemicals Sodium Carbonate facility in Cheshire
  • Advisory and project management to significant on- and offshore wind farm developments; Mesa Power Pampa project, London Array
  • Planning, permitting and environmental services for LNG importation and storage; Isle of Grain (NGT), South Hook (Exxon Mobil/ Qatar Petroleum)
  • Planning, EIA and negotiation of regulatory approvals for the Gorgon project (Chevron)
  • Portland Gas – EIA and permitting advice and regulatory negotiations
Site investigation and storage assessment

Site selection is critical as not all geology formations are suitable for carbon storage, nor are they located in all regions. A deep technical understanding of the world's geology comes from our extensive experience working in the oil and gas sector over the last 40+ years.

On a global scale it’s estimated that there is capacity to store up to 900 GtCO2 in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, and 10,000 GtCO2 in saline aquifers, offering significant mitigation potential to climate change. Depending on scale and location, various geological sites which may be suitable for long term storage of CO2 include:

  • Depleted oil/ gas fields
  • Saline aquifers
  • Deep coal seams
  • Salt caverns

Locating and assessing appropriate sites is a critical step in planning any CCS project and involves multiple technical disciplines

  • Subsurface imaging to map and model structural traps and tectonic influences
  • Computer simulation of reservoir dynamics to predict diffusion of the CO2 during and post-injection
  • Identification of potential thermal fracture or solid hydrate precipitation
  • Geo-mechanical appraisal of cap-rock integrity
  • Geochemical analysis of CO2 interaction with formation water and/or mineralogy
  • Well test analysis to assess injectivity / identify any reservoir discontinuities
  • 4D seismic acquisition and interpretation to identify/ monitor CO2 plume movement

Long term security of storage can only be assured through in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the site, including its history. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) projects may also be suitable for long term storage of CO2, albeit that the additional value associated with such projects may be impacted by more complex regulatory and monitoring requirements.

How we help

RPS offers an exceptional range of international subsurface experience, from reservoir screening to field development. We have conducted numerous projects for CCS purposes at asset and regional scales, for both pure and EOR sequestration. RPS geoscientists work closely with our petroleum engineering team to develop comprehensive models of potential storage sites. To better simulate the distinct characteristics of injecting supercritical CO2 and assist accurate forecasts of diffusion through a storage site, RPS has developed proprietary software to complement industry standard tools. Consideration of both the technical and economic feasibility of CCS is central to our studies, with a focus on optimising both CO2 injection for Enhanced Oil or Gas Recovery and long-term CO2 .

Projects we’ve delivered

  • Screening of Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and UKCS for CO2-EOR potential (Alberta Geological Society and BERR)
  • Geological interpretation and reservoir modelling for Otway Basin pilot project, Australia
  • Petroleum Engineering advisor to the EERC as part of the Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership
  • Delivery of the gas pipeline network to West Ireland (Awarded Best Civil Engineering Project in Ireland 2003)
  • US CO2-EOR well engineering review (Mobil-MEPTEC)
  • Environmental and engineering management for Isle of Portland and Larne Loch gas storage facilities (Portland Gas)

Safe transportation of captured CO2 is critical and involves careful planning, specialised engineering and risk management. As was the case with the development of natural gas distribution systems, new CO2 pipeline and transportation networks will evolve as the number of CCS projects increases.

Detailed evaluation of potential pipeline routes takes many factors into consideration:

  • Topography and existing infrastructure along proposed routes
  • Geotechnical surveys
  • Seismic activity
  • Environmental assessments
  • Stakeholder consultation

CO2 is already transported via high pressure pipelines, however, as the scale of infrastructure increases more populated areas may be impacted. To secure necessary rights of way, comprehensive HSE and risk mitigation policies will be obligatory. As an alternative to pipelines, shipping of liquefied CO2 via tanker may be an option, comparable to current LNG and LPG transportation. This will require its own risk mitigation policies.

How we help

Due to these sensitivities, RPS integrates state of the art technology, laboratory analysis and specialised engineering with risk assessment capability. We draw on proven international experience to provide a robust evaluation that leads to a pragmatic solution.

Experienced engineers provide field-based assessments of pipeline routes, interfacing with key engineering contractors. Geological Information Systems allow visual recognition of complex spatial situations for route selection. Communication with all interested parties is enabled via web-based systems, so generating a rigorous assessment of potential Health, Safety, Environmental and Social impacts. This helps differentiate between perceived and actual risk related to transportation of CO2.

Projects we’ve delivered

  • EIA for field development and export onshore, Algeria (First Calgary Petroleum)
  • Environmental management for the World Bank/ UNDP funded BTC and SCP pipelines (Government of Georgia)
  • Planning, environmental, engineering and stakeholder management for Corrib Pipeline (Shell-Statoil-Marathon)
Drilling and well studies

Injection of CO2 into deep geological formations utilises technologies that have been developed by the oil and gas industry over many years. Well drilling and completions technologies have been developed for optimal performance under extreme operating conditions such as high pressure, temperature and complex chemical environments.

Gas storage and transportation infrastructure projects also provide valuable experience when considering facilities designed and engineered to accommodate CCS. As producing fields approach the end of economic life, it is feasible that existing infrastructure could be converted for CCS purposes. However, to make the most of this potential there needs to be an integrated approach from power generation, infrastructure and asset owners.

How we help

RPS provides integrated engineering design across multiple industry sectors, with significant experience of gas storage, gas transportation and associated infrastructure. We play an invaluable role at the interface between structural engineering, civil engineering, building services and geotechnics.

Our range of services encompasses design, procurement, validation and commissioning in complex and highly regulated environments. Our team has years of experience in the provision of well planning, well engineering and design, construction, execution, management and post well project close-out. This experience has been gained on more than 7000 wells world-wide.

Projects we’ve delivered

  • MMV design and implementation guidance to EERC regarding Zama Acid Gas EOR project, Canada (Apache)
  • Primary air quality consultants to Port Arthur Refinery expansion, Texas (Motiva Enterprises)
  • Qualified under MCERTS scheme for regulatory monitoring of air, water quality, flow measurement and chemical testing
Monitoring, mitigation and verification

A comprehensive strategy for Monitoring, Mitigation and Verification (MM&V) is required at all phases of a CCS project to ensure the safe transportation, injection and long-term storage of CO2.

  • Prior to injection, baseline models of the site are created for future reference against chemical or structural changes
  • During operation, all stages from transportation through to storage are assessed for signs of deterioration and/or leakage, whilst actual volumes of CO2 injected are recorded
  • Post-injection 4D seismic monitoring and interpretation where the storage site is monitored over an extended period to verify that the CO2 remains securely stored

MM&V capability will give surety to regulators and local government who must approve large CCS projects by providing confidence in the volumes of CO2 stored, to ensure safety, environmental and commercial viability.

How we help

Our teams support all phases of an installation from concept design through to decommissioning, providing services to deliver an installation’s Safety Case and ongoing safe operation. Ongoing MM&V draws on several RPS disciplines such as geophysical survey design, support and analysis, stack monitoring, geohazards, meteorological, oceanographic and environmental sampling consultancy services.

RPS has established an excellent reputation for HSE and risk management services to the oil and gas, chemical, power, FMCG, manufacturing, nuclear and defence sectors. We combine sector specific regulatory and operational knowledge with experience of sector-specific best practice.

Projects we’ve delivered

2D/4D seismic monitoring planning and acquisition observation for the CCS Sleipner Field, Norwegian North Sea, Equinor

Contact our team


Jennifer Stringer

Technical Director T: +44 (0) 1273 546 800 Email
Brighton | UK

Andy Kirchin

Director Subsurface Low-Carbon Solutions T: +1 713 595 5135 Email
View profile »
Woking | UK
Edgecombe_Roger_20181126_waistup_highres.jpg (1)

Roger Edgecombe

Director Energy Operations - AAP T: +61 8 9211 1119 Email
View profile »
Perth - Subiaco | Australia

Jim Bradly

Operations Director Technical, Training and Advisory – EAME T: +44 (0) 20 7280 3400 Email
View profile »
London - New Bridge Street | UK
Foster_Orrin_20181126_waistup_highres.jpg (1)

Orrin Foster

Technical Director, Geophysical Operations T: +1 403 265 7226 Email
View profile »
Calgary | Canada

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *