Novel Materials for Robust Repair of Leaky Wellbores in CO2 Storage Formations Email Page
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Performer:  University of Texas at Austin Location:  Austin, Texas
Project Duration:  10/01/2012 – 01/31/2016 Award Number:  FE0009299
Technology Area:  Geologic Storage Total Award Value:  $1,001,865
Key Technology:  GS: Mitigation DOE Share:  $796,555
Performer Share:  $205,309

An illustration of a CO<sub>2</sub> leakage pathway within a<br/>wellbore that could be encountered during CCS<br/>operations. The proposed gelant could fill small<br/>aperture microannuli that may be present after well<br/>completion operations.
An illustration of a CO2 leakage pathway within a
wellbore that could be encountered during CCS
operations. The proposed gelant could fill small
aperture microannuli that may be present after well
completion operations.

Project Description

The project objective is to develop a novel application of a pH-triggered polymer gelantto seal leakage pathways associated with existing wellbores which are difficult to treat with currently available technologies. The effort is testing gelant formulations under a variety of conditions relevant to field applications and determining which is optimal for stopping the flow of brine, brine containing dissolved CO2, or bulk phase CO2. The modeling objective is to develop simple models of the key processes involved in this application, including the transport and reaction of a low-pH fluid (the gelant) through fractures in strongly alkaline materials (cement and earth formations), the rheology of the gelant and gel, and the coupled flow/transport/reaction before, during and after gelant placement in the leaking formation/leakage pathway/recipient formation system. The researchers are validating the components of the models against the laboratory experiments, and apply the coupled model at the wellbore scale to analyze possible leakage remediation strategies and to design the placement of gelant to achieve those strategies.

Project Benefits

This project focuses on the development of a novel application of a pH-triggered polymer gelant to seal leakage pathways associated with existing wellbores. This project enhances remedial operations associated with wellbore leakage, contributing to better storage technology and thus reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Specifically, this project is testing a novel pH-triggered polymer gelant to determine both its capability for injection directly into leakage pathways typically encountered in wells with poor zonal isolation and for its ability to resist the flow of CO2-rich fluids.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

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