The issue of global climate change and its consequences for the Arctic, including glacier melting, sea level rise and permafrost degradation, is drawing increasing attention from the world community. One of the solutions to this problem could be the creation of underground CO2 storage facilities.
In 2023, Russia established a legislative and methodological framework for carbon dioxide (CO2) storage. The first projects for underground carbon dioxide storage facilities may be approved in the next year or two. Proposals to monitor and design the construction of CO2 storage facilities have already been received.
CO2 storage is undertaken for climate purposes to prevent CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is done by capturing the gas generated by human activities at its source—for example, coal-fired power plants or industrial facilities. Then, it is stored underground in geologic formations, such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs.
Earlier, the head of the State Mineral Reserves Commission shared the assumption that underground reservoirs in the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia would allow Russia to become the world's largest station for safe CO2 storage. In addition, it is possible to create reserve capacities for underground storage of oil and gas on these territories, which will make the country less dependent on market conditions, the head added.
Russia’s first underground oil storage project as a strategic reserve has already been approved in 2023. Underground oil storage facilities could be also useful for Russia in the Arctic. For example, to store oil before export via the Northern Sea Route. This would ensure an even level of oil production from Arctic fields while being environmentally acceptable.