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Title: Area of Interest 1, CO2 at the Interface. Nature and Dynamics of the Reservoir/Caprock Contact and Implications for Carbon Storage Performance

We examined the influence of geologic features present at the reservoir/caprock interface on the transmission of supercritical CO2 into and through caprock. We focused on the case of deformation-band faults in reservoir lithologies that intersect the interface and transition to opening-mode fractures in caprock lithologies. Deformation-band faults are exceeding common in potential CO2 injection units and our fieldwork in Utah indicates that this sort of transition is common. To quantify the impact of these interface features on flow and transport we first described the sedimentology and permeability characteristics of selected sites along the Navajo Sandstone (reservoir lithology) and Carmel Formation (caprock lithology) interface, and along the Slickrock Member (reservoir lithology) and Earthy Member (caprock lithology) of the Entrada Sandstone interface, and used this information to construct conceptual permeability models for numerical analysis. We then examined the impact of these structures on flow using single-phase and multiphase numerical flow models for these study sites. Key findings include: (1) Deformation-band faults strongly compartmentalize the reservoir and largely block cross-fault flow of supercritical CO2. (2) Significant flow of CO2 through the fractures is possible, however, the magnitude is dependent on the small-scale geometry of the contact between the opening-mode fracture and the deformationmore » band fault. (3) Due to the presence of permeable units in the caprock, caprock units are capable of storing significant volumes of CO2, particularly when the fracture network does not extend all the way through the caprock. The large-scale distribution of these deformation-bandfault-to-opening-mode-fractures is related to the curvature of the beds, with greater densities of fractures in high curvature regions. We also examined core and outcrops from the Mount Simon Sandstone and Eau Claire Formation reservoir/caprock interface in order to extend our work to a reservoir/caprock pair this is currently being assessed for long-term carbon storage. These analyses indicate that interface features similar to those observed at the Utah sites 3 were not observed. Although not directly related to our main study topic, one byproduct of our investigation is documentation of exceptionally high degrees of heterogeneity in the pore-size distribution of the Mount Simon Sandstone. This suggests that the unit has a greater-than-normal potential for residual trapping of supercritical CO2.« less
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  1. New Mexico Institute Of Mining And Technology, Socorro, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
New Mexico Institute Of Mining And Technology, Socorro, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Contributing Orgs:
Utah State University, Logan, UT (United States); Sandia National Laboratories (FFRDC Contractor), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States