Wellbore Leakage Mitigation Using Advanced Mineral Precipitation Strategies Email Page
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Performer:  Montana State University Location:  Bozeman, Montana
Project Duration:  10/01/2015 – 09/30/2019 Award Number:  FE0026513
Technology Area:  Geologic Storage Total Award Value:  $2,522,426
Key Technology:  GS: Fluid Flow, Pressure & Water Management DOE Share:  $2,000,000
Performer Share:  $522,426

Figure 1: Well diagram for the Montana State<br/>University Danielson well and cement evaluation<br/>log. Tan in the far right track indicates bonded<br/>cement, the red indicates gaps between the casing and cement.
Figure 1: Well diagram for the Montana State
University Danielson well and cement evaluation
log. Tan in the far right track indicates bonded
cement, the red indicates gaps between the casing and cement.

Project Description

Montana State University is developing new mineralization precipitation technologies capable of sealing near-wellbore leakage pathways under a variety of pressure and temperature conditions in the presence of CO2 and brine to help ensure CO2 permanence within the storage formation. The minerals are promoted by enzymatic and thermal degradation of urea which results in mineral precipitation. The minerals can withstand significantly greater temperature than certain microbe precipitation techniques explored during previous development efforts. The project is combining the use of laboratory testing at elevated temperatures and simulation modeling to determine the most applicable mineral sealing strategy. The selected strategy will be deployed in a field experiment in the Montana State University’s Danielson Test Well which contains multiple fluids including brine and CO2 (Figure 1). The longevity of the mineral seal is being assessed with laboratory, modeling, and well logging and characterization techniques. The project team is building on its previous successes with biomineralization technology development by targeting the use of the identified active catalyst enzyme (instead of the entire cell) and direct thermal hydrolysis of urea to drive mineral precipitation. This will facilitate engineered mineralization sealing at greater depths and higher temperatures than is currently possible with biomineralization technology.

Project Benefits

This project’s mineralization technologies use low viscosity fluids that contain very small (1 µm or lower range) particulates (i.e. enzyme) or no particulates at all (mineralization fluids) to promote sealing. This allows flow through narrow leakage channels and through porous media to facilitate sealing of fracture networks, cement gaps, and potentially the rock formation surrounding the wellbore. The impact of a successful project is the development of a technology that can seal small aperture leaks with spatial distribution along narrow pathways such as cement casing interfaces to improve wellbore integrity. This is of great interest to oil and gas industry stakeholders and carbon storage researchers.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager William Aljoe: william.aljoe@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager Traci Rodosta: traci.rodosta@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator Dr. Adrienne Phillips: adrienne.phillips@ce.montana.edu