Fracture Dissolution of Carbonate Rock: An Innovative Process for Gas Storage

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The goal of the project is to develop and assess the feasibility and economic viability of an innovative concept that may lead to commercialization of new gas-storage capacity near major markets. The investigation involves a new approach to developing underground gas storage in carbonate rock, which is present near major markets in many areas of the United States. Because of the lack of conventional gas storage and the projected growth in demand for storage capacity, many of these areas are likely to experience shortfalls in gas deliverability. Since depleted gas reservoirs and salt formations are nearly non-existent in many areas, ... continued below

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Castle, James W.; Falta, Ronald W.; Bruce, David; Murdoch, Larry; Brame, Scott E. & Brooks, Donald October 31, 2006.

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Description

The goal of the project is to develop and assess the feasibility and economic viability of an innovative concept that may lead to commercialization of new gas-storage capacity near major markets. The investigation involves a new approach to developing underground gas storage in carbonate rock, which is present near major markets in many areas of the United States. Because of the lack of conventional gas storage and the projected growth in demand for storage capacity, many of these areas are likely to experience shortfalls in gas deliverability. Since depleted gas reservoirs and salt formations are nearly non-existent in many areas, alternatives to conventional methods of gas storage are required. The need for improved methods of gas storage, particularly for ways to meet peak demand, is increasing. Gas-market conditions are driving the need for higher deliverability and more flexibility in injection/withdrawal cycling. In order to meet these needs, the project involves an innovative approach to developing underground storage capacity by creating caverns in carbonate rock formations by acid dissolution. The basic concept of the acid-dissolution method is to drill to depth, fracture the carbonate rock layer as needed, and then create a cavern using an aqueous acid to dissolve the carbonate rock. Assessing feasibility of the acid-dissolution method included a regional geologic investigation. Data were compiled and analyzed from carbonate formations in six states: Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. To analyze the requirements for creating storage volume, the following aspects of the dissolution process were examined: weight and volume of rock to be dissolved; gas storage pressure, temperature, and volume at depth; rock solubility; and acid costs. Hydrochloric acid was determined to be the best acid to use because of low cost, high acid solubility, fast reaction rates with carbonate rock, and highly soluble products (calcium chloride) that allow for the easy removal of calcium waste from the well. Physical and chemical analysis of core samples taken from prospective geologic formations for the acid dissolution process confirmed that many of the limestone samples readily dissolved in concentrated hydrochloric acid. Further, some samples contained oily residues that may help to seal the walls of the final cavern structure. These results suggest that there exist carbonate rock formations well suited for the dissolution technology and that the presence of inert impurities had no noticeable effect on the dissolution rate for the carbonate rock. A sensitivity analysis was performed for characteristics of hydraulic fractures induced in carbonate formations to enhance the dissolution process. Multiple fracture simulations were conducted using modeling software that has a fully 3-D fracture geometry package. The simulations, which predict the distribution of fracture geometry and fracture conductivity, show that the stress difference between adjacent beds is the physical property of the formations that has the greatest influence on fracture characteristics by restricting vertical growth. The results indicate that by modifying the fracturing fluid, proppant type, or pumping rate, a fracture can be created with characteristics within a predictable range, which contributes to predicting the geometry of storage caverns created by acid dissolution of carbonate formations. A series of three-dimensional simulations of cavern formation were used to investigate three different configurations of the acid-dissolution process: (a) injection into an open borehole with production from that same borehole and no fracture; (b) injection into an open borehole with production from that same borehole, with an open fracture; and (c) injection into an open borehole connected by a fracture to an adjacent borehole from which the fluids are produced. The two-well configuration maximizes the overall mass transfer from the rock to the fluid, but it results in a complex cavern shape. Numerical simulations were performed to evaluate the ability of storage caverns produced by the acid-dissolution method to store natural gas. In addition, analyses were conducted to evaluate cavern stability during gas injection and withdrawal from storage caverns created in carbonate formations by the acid-dissolution method. The stability analyses were conducted using FLAC2D, a commercially available geotechnical analysis and design software. The analyses indicate that a tall cylindrical cavern with a domed roof and floor will be stable under the expected range of in situ and operational conditions. This result suggests that it should be feasible to avoid mechanical instabilities that could potentially diminish the effectiveness of the storage facility. The feasibility of using pressure transients measured at the ground surface was investigated as a means to evaluate (Abstract truncated)

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-02NT41299
  • DOI: 10.2172/918425 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 918425
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc887393

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 31, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 4:17 p.m.

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Castle, James W.; Falta, Ronald W.; Bruce, David; Murdoch, Larry; Brame, Scott E. & Brooks, Donald. Fracture Dissolution of Carbonate Rock: An Innovative Process for Gas Storage, report, October 31, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc887393/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.