Hokkaido earthquake, Tomakomai and CCS: what information is there?

A large earthquake struck Hokkaido overnight on 6 September 2018. It registered Magnitude 6.7, and Shindo 7 was reached closest to the epicentre. There have been 18 fatalities at the time of writing with 24 people still missing, and landslides, power loss and water stoppages across Hokkaido.

The quake was centered very close to Tomakomai City, which is host to a sub-sea carbon dioxide capture and storage demonstration project. This will be of interest to CCS researchers globally, however there is limited English-language information at present.

The purpose of this post is therefore to translate into English publicly-available news and updates relating to the Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project. I will be translating and posting factual information/statements only, NOT opinions. As I have translated this myself, I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the translations. This post will be updated as and when I get information.


Date: October 2018

Organisation: Japan CCS Company

Information: JCCS have updated the temperature and pressure records to include those for all of September, including the periods before and after the earthquake:

Source: http://www.jccs-tomakomai-monitoring.com/JCCS/index.php/slideshow/slide17/



Date: 25 September 2018

Organisation: National Institute for Environmental Studies / Dr Seita Emori

Information: Dr Emori of National Institute for Environmental Studies – expert on environmental risk – comments on Tomakomai, CCS & earthquakes. He says the discussion on seismic risk from earthquakes is needed, even the Ministry of Environment considering it. But for Tomakomai case, based on output from JCCS, as far as he understands he can see no link. NIES’ Dialogue & Cooperation Division add that it basically seems there is no relation, moreover it appears CO2 has not leaked because of the earthquake. Emori says he thinks there is no relation this time, but as is usual for a new technology it is important to assert concerns & discuss them.

NIES also linked to a 2015 report on CCS by Ministry of Environment, in particular a section on societal consensus-building for CCS.

Source: https://twitter.com/taiwa_kankyo/status/1045213618101350400 ;



Date: 12 September 2018

Organisation: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Information: “We have received enquiries as to whether the CCS activity of capturing CO2 emitted from the oil refinery and storing it under the seabed of the Tomakomai coast is connected to the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake. Today at 19:55, we received notification from JCCS that CO2 injection was not happening at the time of the earthquake, and that no data showing leakage of CO2 has been confirmed.”

Source: https://twitter.com/meti_NIPPON/status/1039859624373960708


Date: 12 September 2018

Organisation: Japan CCS Company

Information (summary only, as my Japanese isn’t *that* good! However all main points are covered): JCCS released a two-page statement about the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake. They reported that CO2 injection was stopped on 1 September 2018 at 2.25am, so at the time of the earthquake injection was not happening. The statement contains two main points:

(1) Regarding the situation of the stored CO2: Pressure and temperature of the Moebetsu and Takinoue Formations are directly monitored. Whilst monitoring data was briefly lost due to the power failures directly after the earthquake, when power was restored pressure and temperature were following the same trends as they had prior to the earthquake and were similar to previous injection stoppages. Moreover, no data showing leakage of CO2 was confirmed. On this point, similar views have been received from multiple experts, and the opinions of a wider pool of experts will be sought from now on;

(2) About the Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project and the earthquake: injection and storage is mainly taking place in the Moebetsu Formation, which is 3km offshore of Tomakomai west port and 1000m beneath the sea. Injection and storage is taking place in an area within 500m horizontally. The epicentre of this time’s earthquake was 31km away horizontally in Central Eastern Iburi, at a depth of 37km (i.e. a direct distance of 47km from the storage site). There is no connection between the formation into which CO2 is being injected and the formation in which the earthquake originated, so it cannot be thought that effects from CO2 injection influenced this time’s earthquake.

JCCS also included graphical data showing the pressure and temperature trends for both the Moebetsu and Takinoue Formations from 1 August up to 10 September.

Source: http://www.japanccs.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/180912_oshirase.pdf 

English translation added: http://www.japanccs.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/201809_180912_oshirase.pdf


Date: 11 September 2018

Organisation: Kumamoto Nichinichi Shimbun (Kumamoto Daily Newspaper) / Consortium of 4 universities in Kumamoto Prefecture

Information: A group of volunteer students from 4 universities called ‘KC3’ are working to identify false information relating to the Hokkaido earthquake online and report it to the authorities. While CCS is not explicitly mentioned in the article, claims that the Hokkaido earthquake was human-induced is one of their target rumours according to the article.

Source: https://this.kiji.is/411853839961064545?c=92619697908483575


Date: 10 September 2018

Organisation: Japan CCS Company

Information: Japan CCS Company have updated their online monitoring data to reflect the observation record of the onshore seismometer at Midorigaoka Park

Source: http://www.jccs-tomakomai-monitoring.com/JCCS/index.php/slideshow/slide14_e/


Date: 9 September 2018

Organisation: Japan Meteorological Agency/Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University

Information: Japan Meteorological Agency notes there were Magnitude 6 earthquakes in the area in 1924 and 1927, and a Magnitude 5.1. earthquake in 2017. Strain accumulation from movement between west and east Hokkaido may have been a factor in contributing to the earthquake, according to Prof Takyua Nishimura of Disaster Prevention Research Institute of Kyoto University, based on GPS analysis.

Source: https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20180908-00050066-yom-sci


Date: 7 September 2018

Organisation: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Information: There are no abnormalities at the site. As a precaution, there are also checks to ensure no CO2 has escaped.

Source: http://www.meti.go.jp/press/2018/09/20180907013/20180907013.html


Date: 6 September 2018

Organisation: Japan CCS Company

Information: JCCS has confirmed that there are no abnormalities in the facilities of the Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project. The injection of CO2 into the offshore reservoirs has been in temporary suspension since September 1, due to the stoppage of supply from the CO2 source.

Source: http://www.japanccs.com/?p=3756&lang=en


Date: 6 September 2018

Organisation: University of Tokyo/Nagoya University

Information: A strong earthquake in Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido was likely caused by a series of slips on an inland active fault.

Source: https://japantoday.com/category/national/strong-hokkaido-quake-likely-caused-by-slips-on-inland-active-fault


Date: 3 September 2018 (BEFORE earthquake)

Organisation: Japan CCS Company

Information: Data up to end August/early September (when injection suspended due to stoppage of CO2 source) showing status of storage site:

Overview of monitoring facilities

Most recent previous tremor (23 August 2018)

Distribution of natural earthquakes around Tomakomai (2001-2010, and August 2018)

Micro-seismic events around injection point (last 6 months and 12 months before injection)

Observation of pressure in the wells, up to 31 August 2018

Observation of temperature in the wells, up to 31 August 2018

Source: http://www.jccs-tomakomai-monitoring.com/JCCS/index.php/slideshow/slide01_e/

(nb page will open as rotating slide show)


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