- Copyright ©2006. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists/Division of Environmental Geosciences. All rights reserved.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration in geological formations is the most direct carbon management strategy for reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and will likely be needed for continuation of the global fossil-fuel–based economy. Storage of CO2 into depleted oil reservoirs may prove to be both cost effective and environmentally safe. However, injection of CO2 into oil reservoirs is a complex issue, spanning a wide range of scientific, technological, economic, safety, and regulatory issues. Detailed studies about the long-term impact of CO2 on the host reservoir are necessary before this technology can be deployed. This article provides an overview of a U.S. Department of Energy–sponsored project that examines CO2 sequestration in a depleted oil reservoir. The main objectives of the project are (1) to characterize the oil reservoir and its sequestration capacity; (2) to better understand CO2 sequestration-related processes; and (3) to predict and monitor the migration and ultimate fate of CO2 after injection into a depleted sandstone oil reservoir. The project is focused around a field test that involved the injection of approximately 2090 tons (2.09 million kg) of CO2 into a depleted sandstone reservoir at the West Pearl Queen field in southeastern New Mexico. Geophysical monitoring surveys, laboratory experiments, and numerical simulations were performed in support of the field experiment. Results show that the response of the West Pearl Queen reservoir during the field experiment was significantly different than predicted response based on the preinjection characterization data. Furthermore, results from a 19-month bench-scale experiments of CO2 interaction with the Queen sand were not able to be fully reproduced using the latest numerical modeling algorithms, suggesting that the current models are not capturing important geochemical interactions.
Rajesh Pawar is a technical staff member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in chemical and fuels engineering. His primary research focus is fluid flow in porous media. He has served as the associate editor of Reviews in Geophysics.
Norm Warpinski is currently the chief technology officer for Pinnacle Technologies in Houston, Texas. He is in charge of developing new tools and analyses for hydraulic fracture mapping, reservoir monitoring, hydraulic fracture design and analysis, and integrated solutions for reservoir development. He previously worked at Sandia National Laboratories from 1977 to 2005 on various projects in oil and gas, geothermal, carbon sequestration, waste repositories, and other geomechanics issues. Norm has extensive experience in various types of hydraulic fracture mapping and modeling and has been involved in large-scale field experiments from both the hardware and software sides. He has also worked on formation evaluation, geomechanics, natural fractures, in situ stresses, rock behavior, and rock testing.
John Lorenz worked for the Peace Corps and the U.S. Geological Survey before joining Sandia National Laboratories in 1981, where he is presently a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, has been elected editor for AAPG, and has published widely on the sedimentology and natural fractures in hydrocarbon reservoirs.
Robert (Bob) D. Benson is a research associate professor in the Department of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines and is codirector of the Reservoir Characterization Project. Benson has more than 25 years of experience in seismic acquisition, processing, and interpretation. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees and a Ph.D. in geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines. He is a past president of the Denver Geophysical Society.
Reid Grigg is a senior engineer and section head at the New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center and an adjunct professor at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. His research interests include high-pressure gas-flooding processes, phase behavior, and studies of the fluid properties of high-pressure injection gas and reservoir fluids related to improved oil recovery and carbon storage. He has authored more than 70 publications.
Stubbs is a consultant petroleum engineer, with 33 years of industry experience, for Pecos Petroleum Engineering, Inc., in Roswell, New Mexico. He has been a consultant since 1992 after spending 5 years with Hondo Oil and Gas Company. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the New Mexico State University. He is the project engineer for Strata Production Company on the U.S. Department of Energy Class III Project at Nash Draw.
Phillip Stauffer is a technical staff member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His research involves code development, simulation, and assessment of subsurface multiphase transport in a variety of geological environments. His background in heat and mass transport includes work on the Yucca Mountain Project, the Ocean Drilling Program, and most recently, the Zero Emissions Research and Technology Program.
Jim is a principal member of the Sandia National Laboratories scientific staff, where he has worked since he received his Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University in 1976. His expertise is environmental and aqueous geochemistry, where he has applied numerous issues, including the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) and the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP).
Scott Cooper is a senior member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. He received his B.S. degree from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (1997) and his M.S. degree in geology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (2000). His current research focuses on natural fracture systems and reservoir characterization.
Bob Svec received his bachelor's degree in physics and his master's degree in geophysics from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. His current research interests lie in high-pressure experiments including CO2 core flooding and reservoir characterization.