Carbon capture and storage has been found to be a natural process in oil and gas fields according to a report in science journal Nature, which says CO2 injected into an oil and gas field will dissolve in water over time.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh said this could have taken place for millions of years, adding weight to modern-day efforts to find carbon-capture solutions to help ease emissions.

Lead researcher Dr Stuart Gilfillan said there was no leakage from such “traps”, which contained oil or gas on the top and water at the bottom.

Numerous sites were highlighted in the study, some of which could have contained gas for up to 40 million years.

Gilfillan said CO2 projects should pay careful consideration to how water fields react to ensure leakage will not occur and how, given the right conditions, such as in depleted oil fields, the CO2 will remain trapped.

By Penny Jones