Modeling Leaking Gas Plume Migration

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In this study, we obtain simple estimates of 1-D plume propagation velocity taking into account the density and viscosity contrast between CO{sub 2} and brine. Application of the Buckley-Leverett model to describe buoyancy-driven countercurrent flow of two immiscible phases leads to a transparent theory predicting the evolution of the plume. We obtain that the plume does not migrate upward like a gas bubble in bulk water. Rather, it stretches upward until it reaches a seal or until the fluids become immobile. A simple formula requiring no complex numerical calculations describes the velocity of plume propagation. This solution is a simplification ... continued below

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Silin, Dmitriy; Patzek, Tad & Benson, Sally M. August 20, 2007.

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In this study, we obtain simple estimates of 1-D plume propagation velocity taking into account the density and viscosity contrast between CO{sub 2} and brine. Application of the Buckley-Leverett model to describe buoyancy-driven countercurrent flow of two immiscible phases leads to a transparent theory predicting the evolution of the plume. We obtain that the plume does not migrate upward like a gas bubble in bulk water. Rather, it stretches upward until it reaches a seal or until the fluids become immobile. A simple formula requiring no complex numerical calculations describes the velocity of plume propagation. This solution is a simplification of a more comprehensive theory of countercurrent plume migration that does not lend itself to a simple analytical solution (Silin et al., 2006). The range of applicability of the simplified solution is assessed and provided. This work is motivated by the growing interest in injecting carbon dioxide into deep geological formations as a means of avoiding its atmospheric emissions and consequent global warming. One of the potential problems associated with the geologic method of sequestration is leakage of CO{sub 2} from the underground storage reservoir into sources of drinking water. Ideally, the injected green-house gases will stay in the injection zone for a geologically long time and eventually will dissolve in the formation brine and remain trapped by mineralization. However, naturally present or inadvertently created conduits in the cap rock may result in a gas leak from primary storage. Even in supercritical state, the carbon dioxide viscosity and density are lower than those of the indigenous formation brine. Therefore, buoyancy will tend to drive the CO{sub 2} upward unless it is trapped beneath a low permeability seal. Theoretical and experimental studies of buoyancy-driven supercritical CO{sub 2} flow, including estimation of time scales associated with plume evolution, are critical for developing technology, monitoring policy, and regulations for carbon dioxide geologic sequestration protecting the sources of potable water.

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  • 2007 Ground Water Protection Council AnnualForum, San Diego, CA, 08/28/2007

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  • Report No.: LBNL--63445
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 932495
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902218

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  • August 20, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 1:35 p.m.

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Silin, Dmitriy; Patzek, Tad & Benson, Sally M. Modeling Leaking Gas Plume Migration, article, August 20, 2007; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902218/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.