Reducing Uncertainties in Model Predictions Via History Matching of CO2 Migration and Reactive Transport Modeling of CO2 Fate at the Sleipner Project, Norwegian North Sea Email Page
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Performer: Trustees of Indiana University
Award Number: FE0004381
Project Duration: 10/01/2010 – 03/31/2015
Total Award Value: $518,503.00
DOE Share: $399,418.00
Performer Share: $119,085.00
Technology Area: Geologic Storage
Key Technology: Geochemical Impacts

Project Description

This project is using four dimensional (4-D) seismic data from the Sleipner project in the Norwegian North Sea to conduct multiphase flow and reactive mass transport modeling of CO2 migration in the reservoir. The Sleipner project is the world’s first commercial scale geologic carbon dioxide storage project and is managed by StatOil. To date, a total of 13.5 million metric tons of CO2 have been injected over a period of 17 years, and 4-D seismic data (Figure 1) have delineated the CO2 plume migration history in the reservoir rock, the Utsira sandstone. StatOil has developed a geologic model for the top sandy strata in the Utsira Sandstone (known as "layer 9") from this data. The relatively long history of CO2 storage operation, combined with high fidelity seismic data, makes Sleipner one of the best places in the world to assess geologic and reservoir model uncertainties.

Researchers at Indiana University are using the geologic model provided by StatOil to develop a reservoir scale multi-phase reactive flow model for CO2 plume migration and dynamic evolution of CO2 trapping mechanisms (hydrodynamic/structural, solubility, mineral, and residual/capillary) at Sleipner. Working with collaborators at University of Oslo, Indiana University is utilizing the comprehensive data, including seismic and well log data, to build a regional reservoir model. Up to 300 test wells have been drilled at Sleipner, of which 30 are within 12 miles of the injection site. Information collected from the wells includes lists of formation tops, geophysical logs, reservoir core material, selected cuttings of confining zone and reservoir rocks, and reservoir pressure measurements.

A model has been calibrated through historical matching using information of the progressive CO2 plume migration delineated by the 4-D seismic data. The calibrated reservoir model is being extrapolated to a regional scale model to predict CO2 fate 10,000 years after injection into the reservoir. A rigorous geochemical reaction kinetics framework is being implemented, and a number of sensitivity analysis and bounding calculations performed to help reduce the uncertainty in predicting geochemical reactions.

Project Benefits

The overall goal of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Storage Program is to develop and advance technologies that will significantly improve the effectiveness of geologic carbon storage, reduce the cost of implementation, and prepare for widespread commercial deployment between 2020 and 2030. Research conducted to develop these technologies will ensure safe and permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without adversely affecting energy use or hindering economic growth.

Geologic carbon storage involves the injection of CO2 into underground formations that have the ability to securely contain the CO2 permanently. Technologies being developed for geologic carbon storage are focused on five storage types: oil and gas reservoirs, saline formations, unmineable coal seams, basalts, and organic-rich shales. Technologies being developed will work towards meeting carbon storage programmatic goals of (1) estimating CO2 storage capacity +/- 30 percent in geologic formations; (2) ensuring 99 percent storage permanence; (3) improving efficiency of storage operations; and (4) developing Best Practices Manuals. These technologies will lead to future CO2 management for coal-based electric power generating facilities and other industrial CO2 emitters by enabling the storage and utilization of CO2 in all storage types.

The DOE Carbon Storage Program encompasses five Technology Areas: (1) Geologic Storage and Simulation and Risk Assessment (GSRA), (2) Monitoring, Verification, Accounting (MVA) and Assessment, (3) CO2 Use and Re-Use, (4) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP), and (5) Focus Area for Sequestration Science. The first three Technology Areas comprise the Core Research and Development (R&D) that includes studies ranging from applied laboratory to pilot-scale research focused on developing new technologies and systems for GHG mitigation through carbon storage. This project is part of the Core R&D GSRA Technology Area and works to develop technologies and simulation tools to ensure secure geologic storage of CO2. It is critical that these technologies are available to aid in characterizing geologic formations before CO2-injection takes place in order to predict the CO2 storage resource and develop CO2 injection techniques that achieve optimal use of the pore space in the reservoir and avoid fracturing the  confining zone (caprock). The program’s R&D strategy includes adapting and applying existing technologies that can be utilized in the next five years, while concurrently developing innovative and advanced technologies that will be deployed in the decade beyond. This project is working to validate model uncertainties by history matching data relating to CO2 fate and transport in the subsurface.

The Sleipner project is an international collaboration that will demonstrate that prediction and simulations of plume behaviors and trapping mechanisms are robust at a site with favorable geological conditions. This helps the DOE Carbon Storage program meet the goals of demonstrating that 99 percent storage permanence and improving the efficiency of carbon storage operations. An improved understanding of CO2 behavior will increase our ability to model and predict the behavior of potential reservoirs targeted for investigation by NETL and its partners. This project, by making available a wealth of data from the world’s first industrial CO2 injection site, will greatly benefit the work of Regional Partnerships conducting large volume injection experiments. Results show that good match can be obtained with a set of reasonable data parameters. In addition, improved stakeholder and public acceptance of carbon storage can be achieved through the successful outcome of this highly visible project.


The overall objective is to assess and reduce uncertainties of model predictions of CO2 plume migration, trapping mechanisms, and storage capacity estimates. Because these predictions are necessary at all stages of CO2 storage operations (site assessment/selection, design, installation, operations and monitoring, and closure/post-closure), improved assessment of model uncertainties is critical to regulatory approval and public acceptance. Specific objectives are:

  • Reduce model uncertainties through history matching of the CO2 plume migration over the past 17 years at the Sleipner site. Then, use the flow model as the basis to develop coupled reactive transport model to simulate water-rock interaction and long-term fate of CO2 at Sleipner.

  • Reduce uncertainties in prediction of the long-term fate of CO2 through implementing rigorous geochemical kinetics and through a number of bounding calculations and sensitivity analyses.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Karen Kluger:
Technology Manager Traci Rodosta:
Principal Investigator :


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