ARCHIVED - North American Carbon Storage Atlas

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The North American Carbon Storage Atlas was an action item from the North American Leaders’ Summit in Guadalajara, Mexico, in August 2009. Canada, Mexico and the United States committed to produce a North American Carbon Atlas that would result in uniform mapping methodology and data sharing in the area of large sources of carbon emissions and potential storage sites in North America.

The project was originally conceived under the North American Carbon Atlas Partnership but later expanded under the Canada–U.S. Clean Energy Dialogue.


  • Foster and enhance data gathering and sharing on carbon sources and sinks among the three countries in support of a uniform geographical information system.
  • Form a consensus on the methodology to be used in estimating the CO2 capacity of various types of sinks in North America; and,
  • Prepare both a web-based version and a printable document that is an atlas of CO2 sources and geological sinks for CO2 in North America.


Work under this project concluded that there are at least 500 years and up to 5,000 years of CO2 geological storage space available in reservoirs in North America. The 500-year figure is derived from using low estimates of 136 billion metric tonnes for oil and gas fields; 65 billion metric tonnes for coal fields; and 1,738 billion metric tonnes for saline reservoirs. However, the high end of the range for saline storage potential is 20 trillion metric tonnes, which converts into 5,000 years of storage potential.

The atlas can be seen at

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Patricia Best
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada