Washington, D.C. — A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) team of regional partners has begun injecting 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to evaluate the carbon storage potential and test the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) potential of the Mississippian-aged Clore Formation in Posey County, Ind. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as a key technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to mitigate climate change.
The injection, which is expected to last 6-8 months, is an integral step in DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program. The Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) is conducting the field test to assess the most promising strategies for deploying CCS in the Illinois Basin.
In addition to evaluating the Clore Formation as a storage site, the project is assessing the potential for EOR in wells that were previously producing oil, but are now abandoned. EOR utilizing CO2 injection into hydrocarbon reservoirs has been a commercial practice for more than three decades. DOE researchers believe enhanced EOR programs can dramatically improve the efficiency and economics of using the technology in a wider variety of geologic applications.
The three-member project team—composed of the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois, the Indiana Geological Survey, and Gallagher Drilling Inc.—is injecting CO2 into the Mumford Hills oilfield at a depth of about 1,900 feet. The injection well is located among four oil-production wells about 5 miles northeast of New Harmony, Ind.
The full duration of the project will depend on the capability of the reservoir to serve as a storage site, as well as the number of water and CO2 injection cycles that will be needed to reach project goals. A monitoring, verification, and accounting effort is underway at the site to monitor air and groundwater quality; measure the amount of produced oil, gas, and water; monitor CO2 injection composition, volumes, and rates; and monitor injection pressure and temperature. DOE expects the project to support more than 120 full-time jobs that will extend over the life of the project.
DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy began the partnerships program in 2003 to validate and ultimately deploy carbon sequestration technologies. The program is nearing the conclusion of its second phase, the validation phase, a 4-year effort focused on evaluating promising CO2 storage sites through small-scale field tests in the seven partnership regions.
MGSC is led by the Illinois State Geological survey, in conjunction with the Indiana Geological Survey and Kentucky Geological Survey, and represents Illinois, southwest Indiana, and western Kentucky. The partnership has been focusing on the ability of regional geologic formations to store part of the 304+ million tons of CO2 emitted yearly from fixed sources within the Illinois Basin.