South African Centre for Carbon Capture & Storage


Pilot Monitoring Project.

Surface CO2 Monitoring


As part of ensuring the integrity of any CCS facility, Surface CO2 Monitoring before, during and after a CO2 storage project is a necessary requirement towards a successful CCS campaign. The purpose of a surface monitoring campaign is to provide confidence to stakeholders, that the injected CO 2 is still safely stored and has not had adverse impact on the surface and surrounding area of the injection site.

 Pilot CO2 Monitoring Project (PMP)

The PMP was aimed at laying groundwork for the PCSP. The project was conducted alongside a geological fault that spans between the KwaZulu Natal town of Harding and Eastern Cape town of Bizana. The geological fault was characterized by seepages of natural CO 2 from an underground source. The sites identified along this geological fault provided a natural laboratory for the monitoring team, as it was comparable to a leakage scenario in a CCS campaign. On completion of the work conducted under the PMP, the plan was to assess the capacity built, expertise gained and what improvements should be applied. Upon satisfaction and approval of the exercise by relevant stakeholders, the acquired capacity and expertise would be applied in the PCSP Baseline CO 2 Monitoring. The plan is to give specific and overall costs of the project, methodologies, consultation, travelling, analysis, mentorship, and all resources required to carry out the campaign and also draw attention to the accountable parties for sampling and reporting. Below are the work packages that were conducted under the PMP

  • Atmospheric CO2 monitoring
  • Soil CO2 gas and flux monitoring
  • Surface and Groundwater Monitoring

The Work Packages were applied in diurnal and seasonal comparison studies of CO2 at the natural CO2 release site, thus giving us insight into the patterns of concentration during these certain periods as well as correlations between the work packages. The PMP Phase II equipped the monitoring team with international practices and protocols so as to create readiness for at least two years of Baseline CO2 Monitoring for the PCSP.


The PMP is a SANEDI/SACCCS capacity building initiative that forms an integral component of the Pilot Carbon Dioxide Storage Project (PCSP). The potential sites are located at Harding in the KwaZulu-Natal and Bizana in the Eastern Cape Provinces along the +80km long geological fault.    

The below stakeholders formed part of the monitoring capacity building programme:

  • Ugu District Municipality
  • Alfred Nzo District Minicipality;
  • Umuziwabatu Local Municipality;
  • Mbizana Local Municipality;
  • Mthimude Tribal Court;
  • Izibonda Tribal Court; and
  • Kwa-Jali Tribal Court. 

 Future Activities

PCSP Baseline CO2­ Monitoring Preparation

The activities of the PMP has equipped the monitoring team with the necessary knowledge of global expectations in terms of surface monitoring activities in a CCS campaign. The work to be conducted should provide information on the status of the environment before the PCSP activities. Baseline CO2 Monitoring will be conducted to establish the existing conditions of the area prior to the commencement of the PCSP. Measurements acquired in the Baseline will indicate the degree of environmental variation and/or change before, during and after the PCSP’s activities. The proposed Work Packages:

  • Atmospheric CO2 Monitoring
  • Soil CO2 gas & flux
  • Surface & Groundwater Monitoring
  •  Ecosystem Impact
  • CO2 Isotopic Analysis
  • CO2 Profile

The duration of the monitoring will be 12 – 24 months of monitoring prior to any injection activities in the area. The 24 months is ideal duration because it will not only cover diurnal and seasonal variation, it will also cover annual variations of CO 2 presence in the area.

After a successful Baseline Monitoring Campaign, continuous measurement of CO2 will be conducted during the injection phase of the project, and post closure of the project. The aim of continuing to monitor is to provide surety that the injected CO2 is still safely stored underground.


For further information kindly contact:

Ms Gcobisa Melamane

Environmental Monitoring Lead  

011 038 4374


Mr Douglas Phakula

Technical Officer

011 038 4312 

 Pilot Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Capacity Building Project Activities