MIP 1.2 Industrial clusters: evaluating carbon dioxide underground in bunter closures (ICECUBE)

IDRIC Project MIP 1.2



Characterising and de-risking large saline aquifer storage sites will be key to enabling industry to scale-up and meet CCUS ambitions.

The Bunter Sandstone Formation is a key target for several industry CCUS projects (Figure 1). Three separate storage licences have been granted within the ICECUBE study region.

Previous studies have indicated that the formation has favourable properties for large-scale CO2 storage, however a number of uncertainties remain:
• Regionally-applicable reservoir architecture and properties remain uncertain.
• The extent to which the saline aquifer is hydraulically-connected – this may enable pressure interference between storage sites.
• The aquifer appears to be open to the seabed, but understanding of the connection is poorly understood.
• Previous gas production may have generated headroom for pressure increase, however this has not been evaluated in detail.

Jonathan Pearce

Principal Investigator
British Geological Survey


  • Reduce risk and uncertainty related to pressure increase and propagation in the Bunter Sandstone.
  • Use existing pressure data to calibrate understanding of aquifer connectivity and fluid flow parameters.
  • Support industrial cluster plans for large multi-site CO2 storage in the Bunter Sandstone.
  • Inform industry, regulators and policy makers.

More Detail

This project will deliver a reservoir model of a key UK CO2 storage complex: the Bunter Sandstone of the Southern North Sea. This saline aquifer is the primary storage unit targeted by two ongoing CCUS feasibility studies (OGCI’s Net Zero Teesside and Equinor’s Humber Industrial Decarbonisation Deployment projects) and as such has a high likelihood of forming the storage reservoir for one of the UK’s first CCUS operations. The reservoir model will provide a testbed for optimizing different CCUS operations targeting the aquifer, leading to a reduction in cost and risk to operators. Important geological information will be delivered to a wide range of industrial and academic research projects to further the collective understanding of this important storage reservoir. The Bunter Sandstone is already the focus of several academic studies, but interest in the aquifer system is expected to grow as the industrial feasibility studies progress. The detailed geological framework developed as part of this project will enable researchers to investigate increasingly complex physical and chemical interactions and processes critical to the operation of these CCUS projects.

Note: MIP 1.2 benefits from and builds on geological characterisation activities conducted with funding from the UKCCSRC

Case Study/Progress:

Location of Study Area

Planned Outputs

  • Develop a new reservoir model for the study region.
  • Calibrate the model using existing pressure data and history matching to historic gas production.
  • Work with industry to develop understanding of future storage needs, and simulate industry CO2 injection scenarios.
  • Host a stakeholder workshop to discuss large-scale storage in the Bunter Sandstone