What we do

Since April 2014, the PROTECT team has sought to better understand the ability of the caprock to safely and effectively contain CO2 in large, industrial-scale storage projects. The project will study typical storage environments in the North Sea that have large storage capacity for injected CO2. The project addresses concerns that injection rates of tens of millions tons per year can overpressurize the storage complex, inducing damaging stress on the caprock and causing unwanted leakage.

The PROTECT project emphasizes the integration of data acquisition, laboratory experiments and computational studies to advance new knowledge in our understanding of caprock integrity.

Please visit the project website for more information.

Why is this important?

The capacity of saline aquifers in the Norwegian North Sea for large quantities of injected CO2 has been well established. However, our ability to unlock this theoretical capacity in a safe and economically feasible manner remains hampered by significant uncertainties during the operational phase, specifically low injectivity, excess pressurization and leakage risk. The ability to effectively assess and manage these risks is related to our understanding of physical and chemical properties of the storage complex, which includes the storage reservoir and surrounding formations.


The primary objective of the PROTECT project is to understand the impact of geomechanics, flow and chemistry on caprock integrity in order to ensure injectivity, maximize storage capacity and protect against CO2 leakage from large-scale injection operations.

Several secondary objectives detail specific aspects that will be addressed in the project:

  1. To determine and constrain the relevant parameters from field and laboratory data;
  2. To identify mechanisms for poro-elasto-plastic deformation and initiation/propagation of fractures within the caprock due to hydromechanical coupling;
  3. To investigate the impact of chemical reactions on fracture self-enhancement or self-healing and on overall rock strength;
  4. To develop coupled models for understanding individual fracture development and the effect of flow, temperature, geomechanics and chemistry;
  5. To develop upscaled models to simulate large-scale coupled flow-geomechanical-chemical interaction between the storage formation and caprock;
  6. To establish an integrated framework for designing safe and effective large-scale CO2 injection strategies.

Project outcomes

  • The project was completed on 31 September 2018. The PROTECT final report (45 downloads) has now been submitted to the Research Council. The project was an enormous success. The large volume of publications include: 25 peer-reviewed articles, 10 conference papers and extended abstracts, >24 presentations at conferences, 4 technical reports, 2 PhD theses, and 2 Master theses. Technological infrastructure developed in the project includes: shear box test methodology and 7 advanced simulation codes.
  • A project summary with recommendations for future research in caprock integrity has been submitted to the upcoming GHGT-14 conference in Melbourne, Australia. The paper can be downloaded here: Gasda et al. (2018) Protection of Caprock Integrity for Large-Scale CO2 Storage, GHGT-14. (http://protect.w.uib.no/download/551/)