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The Ohio River Valley CO2 Storage Project is an ongoing characterization of deep saline formations being considered as potential sites for geological CO2 sequestration. We completed a geomechanical analysis of the Rose Run Sandstone, a potential injection zone, and its adjacent formations at the American Electric Power's 1.3-GW Mountaineer Power Plant in New Haven, West Virginia. The results of this analysis were then applied to three investigations used to evaluate the feasibility of anthropogenic CO2 sequestration in the potential injection zone. First, we incorporated the results of the geomechanical analysis with a geostatistical aquifer model in CO2 injection-flow simulations to test the effects of introducing a hydraulic fracture to increase injectivity. We observed a nearly fourfold increase of injection rate caused by the introduction of a hydraulic fracture in the injection zone. The flow simulations predict that a single vertical well with a hydraulic fracture could inject a maximum of 300–400 kt of CO2/yr. In the second investigation, we determined that horizontal injection wells at the Mountaineer site are feasible because the high rock strength ensures that such wells would be stable in the local stress state. The third investigation used the geomechanical analysis results to evaluate the potential for injection-induced seismicity. If preexisting, but undetected, nearly vertical faults striking north-northeast or east-northeast are present, the increased pore pressure from CO2 injection would raise their reactivation potential. Geomechanical analysis of potential CO2 sequestration sites provides critical information required to evaluate its sequestration potential and associated risks.
Amie Lucier is a Ph.D. candidate in geophysics at Stanford University. She is a research assistant in the Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group investigating geomechanical questions related to CO2 sequestration, mining, and the petroleum industry. She received her M.S. degree (2004) in geophysics from Stanford University and her B.S. degree (2002) in geology from Washington and Lee University.
Mark Zoback is the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Earth Sciences and professor of geophysics at Stanford University. His principal research interests are related to the forces that act within the Earth's crust and their influence on processes related to plate tectonics, earthquakes, oil and gas reservoirs, and CO2 sequestration.
Neeraj Gupta is a research leader in the Environmental Technology Department at the Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio. He received a Ph.D. in hydrogeology from Ohio State University, an M.S. degree in geochemistry from George Washington University, and M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees in geology from Panjab University, India. He has been leading Battelle's research on CO2 sequestration and also maintains active interest in groundwater characterization, modeling, and remediation research.
T. S. Ramakrishnan is a scientific advisor in Schlumberger-Doll Research and is currently responsible for carbon sequestration research within Schlumberger. He has published in the areas of two-phase flow in porous media, well testing, enhanced oil recovery, carbonate rock physics, invasion, relative permeability logging, formation testers, intelligent completions, etc. He has a B.Tech. degree (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi) and a Ph.D. (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago) in chemical engineering.