Leakage and Seepage in the Near-Surface Environment: An Integrated Approach to Monitoring and Detection

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Monitoring and detection of leakage and seepage of carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) in the near-surface environment is needed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of geologic carbon sequestration. Large leakage fluxes, e.g., through leaking wells, will be easier to detect and monitor than slow and diffuse leakage and seepage. The challenge of detecting slow leakage and seepage is discerning a leakage or seepage signal from within the natural background variations in CO{sub 2} concentration and flux that are controlled by a variety of coupled processes in soil. Although there are no direct examples of leaking geologic carbon sequestration sites on ... continued below

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6 pages

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Oldenburg, Curtis M. & Lewicki, Jennifer L. December 18, 2003.

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Description

Monitoring and detection of leakage and seepage of carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) in the near-surface environment is needed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of geologic carbon sequestration. Large leakage fluxes, e.g., through leaking wells, will be easier to detect and monitor than slow and diffuse leakage and seepage. The challenge of detecting slow leakage and seepage is discerning a leakage or seepage signal from within the natural background variations in CO{sub 2} concentration and flux that are controlled by a variety of coupled processes in soil. Although there are no direct examples of leaking geologic carbon sequestration sites on which to base a proposed verification approach, we have been guided by our prior simulation studies of CO{sub 2} leakage and seepage, which showed that large CO{sub 2} concentrations can develop in the shallow subsurface even for relatively small CO{sub 2} leakage fluxes. A variety of monitoring technologies exists for measuring CO{sub 2} concentration and flux, but there is a gap between instrument performance and the detection of a leakage or seepage signal from within large natural background variability. We propose an integrated approach to monitoring and verification. The first part of our proposed approach is to characterize and understand the natural ecosystem before CO{sub 2} injection occurs so that future anomalies can be recognized. Measurements of natural CO{sub 2} fluxes using accumulation chamber (AC) and eddy correlation (EC) approaches, soil CO{sub 2} concentration profiles with depth, and carbon isotope compositions of CO{sub 2} are needed to characterize the natural state of the system prior to CO{sub 2} injection. From this information, modeling needs to be carried out to enhance understanding of carbon sources and sinks so that anomalies can be recognized and subject to closer scrutiny as potential leakage or seepage signals. Long-term monitoring using AC, EC, and soil-gas analyses along with ecosystem and flow and transport modeling should continue after CO{sub 2} injection. The integrated use of multiple measurements and modeling offers a promising approach to discerning and quantifying a small CO{sub 2} leakage or seepage signal from within the expected background variability.

Physical Description

6 pages

Notes

OSTI as DE00837241

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  • 7th International conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-7), Vancouver, British Columbia (CA), 09/05/2004--09/09/2004

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  • Report No.: LBNL--54283
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 837241
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc786743

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  • December 18, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 2:24 p.m.

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Oldenburg, Curtis M. & Lewicki, Jennifer L. Leakage and Seepage in the Near-Surface Environment: An Integrated Approach to Monitoring and Detection, article, December 18, 2003; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc786743/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.