Development of Science-Based Permitting Guidance for Geological Sequestration of CO2 in Deep Saline Aquifers Based on Modeling and Risk Assessment

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Underground carbon storage may become one of the solutions to address global warming. However, to have an impact, carbon storage must be done at a much larger scale than current CO{sub 2} injection operations for enhanced oil recovery. It must also include injection into saline aquifers. An important characteristic of CO{sub 2} is its strong buoyancy--storage must be guaranteed to be sufficiently permanent to satisfy the very reason that CO{sub 2} is injected. This long-term aspect (hundreds to thousands of years) is not currently captured in legislation, even if the U.S. has a relatively well-developed regulatory framework to handle carbon ... continued below

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Nicot, Jean-Philippe; Bouroullec, Renaud; Castellanos, Hugo; Hovorka, Susan; Lakshminarasimhan, Srivatsan & Paine, Jeffrey June 30, 2006.

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Underground carbon storage may become one of the solutions to address global warming. However, to have an impact, carbon storage must be done at a much larger scale than current CO{sub 2} injection operations for enhanced oil recovery. It must also include injection into saline aquifers. An important characteristic of CO{sub 2} is its strong buoyancy--storage must be guaranteed to be sufficiently permanent to satisfy the very reason that CO{sub 2} is injected. This long-term aspect (hundreds to thousands of years) is not currently captured in legislation, even if the U.S. has a relatively well-developed regulatory framework to handle carbon storage, especially in the operational short term. This report proposes a hierarchical approach to permitting in which the State/Federal Government is responsible for developing regional assessments, ranking potential sites (''General Permit'') and lessening the applicant's burden if the general area of the chosen site has been ranked more favorably. The general permit would involve determining in the regional sense structural (closed structures), stratigraphic (heterogeneity), and petrophysical (flow parameters such as residual saturation) controls on the long-term fate of geologically sequestered CO{sub 2}. The state-sponsored regional studies and the subsequent local study performed by the applicant will address the long-term risk of the particular site. It is felt that a performance-based approach rather than a prescriptive approach is the most appropriate framework in which to address public concerns. However, operational issues for each well (equivalent to the current underground injection control-UIC-program) could follow regulations currently in place. Area ranking will include an understanding of trapping modes. Capillary (due to residual saturation) and structural (due to local geological configuration) trappings are two of the four mechanisms (the other two are solubility and mineral trappings), which are the most relevant to the time scale of interest. The most likely pathways for leakage, if any, are wells and faults. We favor a defense-in-depth approach, in which storage permanence does not rely upon a primary seal only but assumes that any leak can be contained by geologic processes before impacting mineral resources, fresh ground water, or ground surface. We examined the Texas Gulf Coast as an example of an attractive target for carbon storage. Stacked sand-shale layers provide large potential storage volumes and defense-in-depth leakage protection. In the Texas Gulf Coast, the best way to achieve this goal is to establish the primary injection level below the total depth of most wells (>2,400 m-8,000 ft). In addition, most faults, particularly growth faults, present at the primary injection level do not reach the surface. A potential methodology, which includes an integrated approach comprising the whole chain of potential events from leakage from the primary site to atmospheric impacts, is also presented. It could be followed by the State/Federal Government, as well as by the operators.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT42210
  • DOI: 10.2172/901785 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 901785
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc891456

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  • June 30, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Jan. 9, 2018, 10:22 a.m.

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Nicot, Jean-Philippe; Bouroullec, Renaud; Castellanos, Hugo; Hovorka, Susan; Lakshminarasimhan, Srivatsan & Paine, Jeffrey. Development of Science-Based Permitting Guidance for Geological Sequestration of CO2 in Deep Saline Aquifers Based on Modeling and Risk Assessment, report, June 30, 2006; Austin, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc891456/: accessed September 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.