Recovery Act: Modeling CO2 Sequestration in the Ozark Plateau Aquifer System Email Page
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University of Kansas Center for Research

Award Number:  FE0002056
Project Duration:  12/08/2009 – 09/30/2014
Total Award Value:  $12,623,491.00
DOE Share:  $9,974,299.00
Performer Share:  $2,649,192.00
Technology Area: 
Key Technology: 

Project Description

The University of Kansas (KU), BEREXO Inc., Bittersweet Energy Inc., Kansas Geological Survey, and the Kansas State University is studying potential CO2 storage sites which includes saline aquifers and depleted oil reservoirs within the Ozark Plateau Aquifer System (OPAS) in south-central Kansas. The study focuses on the Wellington Field, with an evaluation of the CO2-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) potential of its Mississippian chert reservoir and the storage potential in the underlying Cambro-Ordovician Arbuckle Group saline reservoir. A larger study of the Arbuckle Group saline reservoir is being undertaken over a 33 county area in south-central Kansas to evaluate regional CO2 storage potential. Additionally, the EOR potential of the Chester and Marrow Sandstone reservoirs are being evaluated. This study will demonstrate the integration of seismic, geologic, and engineering approaches to evaluate CO2 storage potential.

The project will estimate the CO2 storage potential of multiple formations within the OPAS by constructing integrated geological models followed by reservoir simulation studies. The effort will involve collecting available data, drilling three new wells through the Arbuckle Group, logging the newly drilled wells (Figure 1), coring a portion of the injection and confining zones in two of the new wells, and performing chemical and physical analyses on the samples. In addition, an analysis of the geochemistry of formation fluids will be conducted, and a simulation of fluid flow in the reservoir/aquifer and geochemical interactions between injected CO2 and formation fluids will occur. Ultimately, reservoir simulation studies will be conducted to determine CO2 injectivity in saline reservoirs and calculate the metric tons of CO2 stored in solution, as well as residual gas saturation, and mineral precipitates. The studies will evaluate the seal integrity needed to overcome the pressure increase from injection, seal porosity changes due to geochemical reactions, and used to develop an estimate of potential CO2 leakage as a fraction of injection. Near- and long-term simulations will be conducted to quantify free phase CO2, its distribution, and time of dissipation to understand plume growth, its area of influence, and attenuation in the presence of multiple aquitards, background aquifer flow, and its movement when encountering fault zones. Detailed risk analysis studies will be conducted with a Finite Element Heat and Mass (FEHM) simulator to estimate potential CO2 leakage (injection fraction) resulting from cement degradation in existing wells.

Project Benefits

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies offer the potential for reducing CO2 emissions without adversely influencing energy use or hindering economic growth. Deploying these technologies in commercial-scale applications requires adequate geologic formations capable of (1) storing large volumes of CO2, (2) receiving injected CO2 at efficient and economic rates, and (3) retaining CO2 safely over extended periods. Research efforts are currently focused on conventional and unconventional storage formations within depositional environments such as: deltaic, fluvial, alluvial, strandplain, turbidite, eolian, lacustrine, clastic shelf, carbonate shallow shelf, and reef. Conventional storage types are porous permeable clastic or carbonate rocks that have fluids such as brine, oil, or gas in the natural void spaces of the rocks. Unconventional storage types include unmineable coal, organic shale, and basalt interflow zones1.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) selected 10 projects that received $49 million of DOE funding to characterize promising geologic formations for CO2 storage. The funding was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which was enacted to create new jobs, spur economic activity, and promote long-term economic growth. This research further advances DOE’s efforts to develop a national assessment of CO2 storage resources in deep geologic formations. These 10 projects are focusing on the regional site characterization of high-potential geologic storage formations. They will assess and develop comprehensive data sets of storage formation characteristics (porosity, permeability, reservoir architecture, cap rock integrity, etc.) to provide insight into the potential for selected geologic reservoirs across the United States to safely and permanently store CO2. An additional $50 million of ARRA funding was provided to augment the work that the existing projects are conducting. This additional funding is allowing these projects to further characterize reservoir geology, identifying additional storage opportunities for industrial CO2 sources. This additional funding is allowing these projects to drill additional and/or deeper wells, collect significantly better log and core data to populate models, collect additional geophysical data, and integrate additional data and conduct more extensive reservoir models.

The overall effort will provide greater insight into the potential for geologic formations across the United States to safely and permanently store CO2. The information gained from this endeavor will further DOE efforts to refine a national assessment of CO2 storage resources in deep geologic formations. Specifically, the modeling results from this research effort can be used to help predict the fate and transport of CO2 under an injection scenario and refine overall storage capacity within the Arbuckle formation in Kansas. Additionally, the results of this study will help in determining if CO2 EOR is economical for this region. The data gathered as part of this research effort will be shared with the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership’s (RCSP) Southwest Regional Partnership (SWP), integrated into the National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographic Information System (NATCARB), and utilized for the 4th Edition of the Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada.


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 specific objective of the project is to estimate the potential for CO2 storage in the OPAS by modeling CO2 injection within the Arbuckle Group saline aquifer and the Mississippian chert, Chester and Morrow Sandstone oil and natural gas reservoirs. Three separate geomodels will be constructed for the Wellington field (Sumner County) (one in the depleted Mississippian oil field and another model for the underlying Arbuckle saline aquifer) and the Regional Arbuckle saline aquifer that spans approximately 33 counties across south-central Kansas. Simulation studies are being conducted to estimate CO2 storage resources within these formations which will aid in identify potential geologic storage sites.

1DOE NETL 2010 - Geologic Storage Formation Classification: Understanding Its Importance and Impacts on CCS Opportunities in the United States, /technologies/carbon_seq/refshelf/BPM_GeologicStorageClassification.pdf

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Technology Manager 
Principal Investigator 


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