Potential impacts of CO2 storage on groundwater resources


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The Groundwater and Storage interactions project arose out of a meeting on the shoulder of the Greenhouse Gas Technologies Conference in Amsterdam in 2010. It was decided to concentrate initially on the Australian Flagships projects. On 3 May 2011 Australian researchers and government agencies met and presented their work to date.

In these slides Neil Wildgust, from IEGHG, presents the potential impacts of CO2 storage on groundwater resources

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Potential impacts of CO2 storage on groundwater resources

  1. 1. Potential Impacts of CO2Storage on Groundwater Resources Neil Wildgust GCCSI Groundwater Workshop Canberra, May 2011
  2. 2. Groundwater Impacts Study• Study commissioned by IEAGHG and carried out by CO2GeoNet• Led by BRGM
  3. 3. Recent IEAGHG Studies on Caprocks• Pressurisation and Brine Displacement, Permedia, Canada • Literature review and modelling to assess pressure and brine displacement effects in DSF storage • Implications for capacity and injectivity• Caprock Systems for Geological Storage of CO2, CO2CRC, Australia • Literature review to assess current state of knowledge • Identification of knowledge gaps and R&D priorities
  4. 4. Resource Overlap - EuropeCombining GEOCAPACITY data on DSF Combining GEOCAPACITY data on DSF(pink)both (pink) with WHYMAP thematic layers with WHYMAP thematic layers representingrepresenting large, uniform freshwater areas with complex hydrogeologicalaquifers (blue). structure (green)
  5. 5. Resource Overlap - N AmericaCombining data on DSF from the Carbon Combining data on DSF from the CarbonSequestration Atlas (pink) with WHYMAP Sequestration Atlas (pink) with WHYMAPthematic layer representing large, uniform thematic layer representing areas withfreshwater aquifers (blue) complex hydrogeological structures (green)
  6. 6. Typologies/Mapping Scenarios• Areas with potential DSF storage overlain by: • Large, uniform freshwater aquifers • Complex hydrogeological structures where productive potable aquifers (including karst ) may occur in close vicinity to non-aquifers • Localised/ very shallow aquifers • Formations containing saline groundwater • Over-exploited groundwater resources• Areas with no DSF suitable for CO2 storage
  7. 7. Potential Groundwater Impacts• CO2GeoNet report considers: • Chemical processes • Natural and industrial analogues • Review of literature/existing modelling• Modelling undertaken • Idealised scenarios • Highlights difficulties in coupling processes
  8. 8. Closed versus Open Systems• Open systems: regional lateral brine flux, transient pressurisation• Closed systems: brine flux within storage compartment, rapid loss of injectivity• Semi-closed systems: more realistic?
  9. 9. Modelling Case Studies• Pressurisation over much larger area than associated CO2 plume• Brine displacement over relatively small distances• Brine displacement through the caprock at permeabilities > 10-18 m2, though pore velocity extremely slow• Fast flow conduits, e.g. faults have highest potential to negatively affect shallow groundwater• Coupled modelling of reactive transport for multiphase flow still under active research and development.
  10. 10. Effect of Seal Permeability Pressure build-up at 30 years of injection for different seal permeabilities – adapted from Birkholzer et al, 2009
  11. 11. Shale Porosity-Permeability Transform (Young and Aplin 2009)
  12. 12. Empirical Relationships affecting Regional Shale Permeability
  13. 13. Caprocks Study• Overall seal potential is a function of capacity, geometry and integrity of a caprock• Capacity refers to maximum CO2 column height that can be retained• Geometry refers to the thickness and lateral extent of the caprock• Integrity refers to geomechanical properties• CO2CRC present a qualitative assessment methodology for basin-level screening
  14. 14. Concluding Remarks• More work needed on potential groundwater resource impacts from CO2 storage• Pressure footprint of storage will extend beyond plume• Brine displacement may alleviate reservoir pressurisation• Brine fluxes through caprock may be at low rates• Faults, fractures and heterogeneity will be important in controlling pressure evolution and brine displacement• For many typical storage scenarios, brine displacement unlikely to affect shallow groundwater resources• Mitigation options include CO2/brine abstraction
  15. 15. Forthcoming IEAGHG Storage Studies• Brine abstraction (EERC, US DOE co- funding)• Implications for CCS of Shale Gas Extraction• Resource Interactions for CO2 Storage• Induced Seismicity• Phase 2 of Storage Costs (outside Europe)