Researchers in Saskatchewan have announced the world’s first standard for storing captured carbon dioxide underground.

The CEO of Regina-based IPAC-CO2 says the standard will help instill public and regulator confidence in carbon capture and storage.

“Having a standard just gives you that extra degree of certitude that you’re doing things properly and it’s transparent,” said Carmen Dybwad.

“The regulators (will) have standards they can point to…that are specific to carbon dioxide and not just other acid gases.”

A technical committee of more than 30 regulators, researchers and non-government organizations on both sides of the border worked to develop the standard.

It focuses on areas such as management and project requirements, site selection guidelines, monitoring, injection well operations, risk management, site closure and long-term stewardship.

The standard mainly applies to saline aquifers and depleted oil reservoirs, and doesn’t cover enhanced oil recovery projects.

It’s hoped the standard will eventually form the basis of an international standard for carbon capture and storage.

Saskatchewan Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff says the standard will allow the province to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets as it continues to burn coal to generate power.

“It confirms us as a world leader,” he said. “We’re blessed with coal in this province and it’s our responsibility to burn it in the cleanest and most efficient way possible.”

Scientists estimate carbon capture units can be used to reduce emissions from industrial plants by up to 95 per cent. However, the technology has its share of skeptics.

The Saskatchewan government has set a goal of reducing emissions to 20 per cent below 2006 levels by the year 2020.