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Prospectivity Analysis for Underground Hydrogen Storage, Taranaki Basin, Aotearoa New Zealand: A Multi-criteria Decision-making Approach


Seasonal underground hydrogen storage (UHS) in porous media provides an as yet untested method for storing surplus renewable energy and balancing our energy demands. This study investigates the technical suitability for UHS in depleted hydrocarbon fields and one deep aquifer site in Taranaki Basin, Aotearoa New Zealand. Prospective sites are assessed using a decision tree approach, providing a “fast-track” method for identifying potential sites, and a decision matrix approach for ranking optimal sites. Based on expert elicitation, the most important factors to consider are storage capacity, reservoir depth, and parameters that affect hydrogen injectivity/withdrawal and containment. Results from both approaches suggest that Paleogene reservoirs from gas (or gas cap) fields provide the best option for demonstrating UHS in Aotearoa New Zealand, and that the country’s projected 2050 hydrogen storage demand could be exceeded by developing one or two high ranking sites. Lower priority is assigned to heterolithic and typically finer grained, labile and, clay-rich Miocene oil reservoirs, and to deep aquifers that have no proven hydrocarbon containment.

Funding source: Funding for this work was received from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to the University of Canterbury under the 2022 Endeavour Fund Research Programmes (grant number UOCX2207).

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