This two-year project was working to develop and demonstrate a fully integrated, multidisciplinary CO2 MVA software system that takes a novel approach to the deployment and utilization of seismic imaging, and the seamless integration of the seismic data with reservoir modeling. The project also employed an active sourcereflection seismic imaging strategy based on the deployment of spatially sparse, surface seismic arrays, integrated with a dense complementary baseline array. The project team determined whether a more accurate CO2 reservoir modeling package than those existing in industry today could be developed using fewer points in a surface seismic array (but collected more frequently), along with new and existing software.
Through its core research and development program administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) emphasizes monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA), as well as computer simulation and risk assessment, of possible carbon dioxide (CO2) leakage at CO2 geologic storage sites. MVA efforts focus on the development and deployment of technologies that can provide an accurate accounting of stored CO2, with a high level of confidence that the CO2 will remain stored underground permanently. Effective application of these MVA technologies will ensure the safety of geologic storage projects with respect to both human health and the environment, and can provide the basis for establishing carbon credit trading markets for geologically storing CO2. Computer simulation can be used to estimate CO2 plume and pressure movement within the storage formation as well as aid in determining safe operational parameters; results from computer simulations can be used to refine and update a given site’s MVA plan. Risk assessment research focuses on identifying and quantifying potential risks to humans and the environment associated with geologic storage of CO2, and helping to ensure that these risks remain low.
It will be necessary to improve existing monitoring technologies, develop novel systems, and protocols to satisfy regulations to track the fate of subsurface CO2 and quantify any emissions from reservoirs. The Carbon Storage Program is sponsoring the development of technologies and protocols by 2020 that are broadly applicable in different geologic storage classes and have sufficient accuracy to account for greater than 99 percent of all injected CO2. If necessary, the tools will support project developers to help quantify emissions from carbon capture, storage, and utilization (CCUS) projects in the unlikely event that CO2 migrates out of the injection zone. Finally, coupled with our increased understanding of these systems and reservoir models, MVA tools will help in the development of one of DOE’s goals to quantify storage capacity within ± 30 percent accuracy.
This technology provides an integrated approach to the set of Earth science applications (Figure 1) including seismic data, well information, geology, and a reservoir simulation mechanism. This includes CO2 geochemistry, reservoir geomechanics, and multiphase fluid flow. The system greatly improves operational efficiency and enables the interdisciplinary collaboration required for effective CO2 geologic storage MVA. This software system provides a substantial advantage over existing practice, and existing systems available from the oil and gas industry today. The commercial nature of the technology will be available in the future for use in all aspects of CO2 geologic storage. As the CO2 MVA market widens and new geoscience technologies are developed, the additional technology can be easily incorporated into this software infrastructure. The results from the methodology and the software system helps operators reduce the risks associated with inducing fractures in the caprock and/or reactivating faults during injection, and allows for the prediction and detection of locations where these are occurring. The software and seismic MVA methodologies promote confidence that injected CO2 will remain securely stored, and allows for accurate monitoring during injection.
The primary objective of the DOE’s Carbon Storage Program is to develop technologies to safely and permanently store CO2 and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions without adversely affecting energy use or hindering economic growth. The Programmatic goals of Carbon Storage research are: (1) estimating CO2 storage capacity in geologic formations; (2) demonstrating that 99 percent of injected CO2 remains in the injection zone(s); (3) improving efficiency of storage operations; and (4) developing Best Practices Manuals (BPMs).
The primary goal of this project was to develop and demonstrate a fully integrated, multidisciplinary CO2 MVA software system, employing a novel approach to the deployment and utilization of seismic imaging, and the seamless integration of the seismic data with reservoir modeling. This effort helps achieve the NETL goal to demonstrate CO2 storage permanence in the subsurface. The key objectives of the project were to:
Develop a strategy for high temporal resolution seismic CO2 storage monitoring; and
Develop and deliver an integrated reservoir modeling and seismic analysis package to enable a seamless, collaborative CO2 MVA workflow.
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