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Title: Review: Role of chemistry, mechanics, and transport on well integrity in CO 2 storage environments

Among the various risks associated with CO 2 storage in deep geologic formations, wells are important potential pathways for fluid leaks and groundwater contamination. Injection of CO 2 will perturb the storage reservoir and any wells that penetrate the CO 2 or pressure footprints are potential pathways for leakage of CO 2 and/or reservoir brine. Well leakage is of particular concern for regions with a long history of oil and gas exploration because they are top candidates for geologic CO 2storage sites. This review explores in detail the ability of wells to retain their integrity against leakage with careful examination of the coupled physical and chemical processes involved. Understanding time-dependent leakage is complicated by the changes in fluid flow, solute transport, chemical reactions, and mechanical stresses over decade or longer time frames for site operations and monitoring. Almost all studies of the potential for well leakage have been laboratory based, as there are limited data on field-scale leakage. When leakage occurs by diffusion only, laboratory experiments show that while CO 2 and CO 2-saturated brine react with cement and casing, the rate of degradation is transport-limited and alteration of cement and casing properties is low. When a leakage path ismore » already present due to cement shrinkage or fracturing, gaps along interfaces (e.g. casing/cement or cement/rock), or casing failures, chemical and mechanical alteration have the potential to decrease or increase leakage risks. Laboratory experiments and numerical simulations have shown that mineral precipitation or closure of strain-induced fractures can seal a leak pathway over time or conversely open pathways depending on flow-rate, chemistry, and the stress state. Experiments with steel/cement and cement/rock interfaces have indicated that protective mechanisms such as metal passivation, chemical alteration, mechanical deformation, and pore clogging can also help mitigate leakage. The specific rate and nature of alteration depends on the cement, brine, and injected fluid compositions. For example, the presence of co-injected gases (e.g. O 2, H 2S, and SO 2) and pozzolan amendments (fly ash) to cement influences the rate and the nature of cement reactions. A more complete understanding of the coupled physical-chemical mechanisms involved with sealing and opening of leakage pathways is needed. An important challenge is to take empirically based chemical, mechanical, and transport models reviewed here and assess leakage risk for carbon storage at the field scale. Furthermore, field observations to accompany laboratory and modeling studies are critical to validating understanding of leakage risk. Long-term risk at the field scale is an area of active research made difficult by the large variability of material types (cement, geologic material, casing), field conditions (pressure, temperature, gradient in potential, residence time), and leaking fluid composition (CO 2, co-injected gases, brine). Of particular interest are the circumstances when sealing and other protective mechanisms are likely to be effective, when they are likely to fail, and the zone of uncertainty between these two extremes.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [1] ;  [7]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA (United States)
  4. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States)
  5. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
  6. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  7. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
PNNL-24479; LLNL-JRNL-681465
Journal ID: ISSN 1750-5836; AA9010200
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830; AC52-07NA27344
Published Article
Journal Name:
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 49; Journal ID: ISSN 1750-5836
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; role of chemistry; mechanics; transport; well integrity in CO2 storage environments; reactive transport; mechanical deformation; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; well integrity
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1244791; OSTI ID: 1259754