ARRA Site Characterization Projects

Site Characterization of the Highest-Priority Geologic Formations for CO2Storage in Wyoming - University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming and its project partners are characterizing the Rock Springs Uplift (RSU) and Moxa Arch deep saline reservoirs in southwestern Wyoming to determine their suitability for commercial-scale CO2 storage projects. These reservoirs include the Madison Limestone and Weber Sandstone. They are being characterized by drilling a test well in the RSU (through extensive testing in and around the well) and processing data from a well in the Moxa Arch that had previously been drilled by ExxonMobil. Analytical measurements taken from within the RSU well and tests performed on samples removed from this well are being used to determine the ability of these reservoirs to store CO2. An investigation is being conducted to ensure that potential leakage paths from the reservoirs are identified and assessed.

Location of two high–capacity CO2 storage sites in the
Rock Springs Uplift/Moxa Arch Region in south west Wyoming

This effort will provide researchers with a better understanding of how the RSU deep saline reservoirs in southwestern Wyoming may be used in future commercial-scale CO2 storage projects. The RSU has the potential to be an outstanding site for geological CO2 storage because of its large area (1,750 square miles) and the thick sealing lithologies overlying it. The RSU and Moxa Arch are located near several of Wyoming's largest sources of anthropogenic CO2 and present high-priority opportunities for geologic CO2 storage.

The overall project goal is to characterize the RSU and Moxa Arch deep saline reservoirs for potential commercial development. The University of Wyoming and partners are accomplishing this through:

Acquiring new geophysical data from the RSU to complement existing Moxa Arch data.

Drilling and installing a 12,000 foot deep stratigraphic test well in the RSU. The drilling site is located near PacifiCorp's 2,200 megawatt Jim Bridger coal-fired power plant

Acquiring wireline logs, core, cuttings, fluid samples, and a baseline microseismic signature from the RSU well.

Performing microfrac tests of the primary seal (Dinwoody Shale) and two target storage reservoirs.

Conducting a 3-D seismic survey and an electromagnetic survey over a 25-square mile area surrounding the characterization well site.

Developing a geologic model and performing numerical simulations of different CO2 injection/storage scenarios in the Madison Limestone formation to predict reservoir pressures and the displacement of formation saline fluids.

Designing a complete management and treatment facility for displaced water to maintain acceptable reservoir pressures, obtain usable water, and extract valuable minerals (including lithium) from formation fluids.

This effort is providing better insight into the potential of 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. In particular, this project will provide a complete, detailed characterization of the CO2 storage potential of two deep saline aquifers at a site on Wyoming's Rock Springs Uplift. The data gathered is being integrated into the National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographical Information System (NATCARB) and featured in its own map-viewer page as well as be utilized in the development of NETL's Carbon Storage Atlas of the United States and Canada.

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