- Copyright ©2011. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists/Division of Environmental Geosciences. All rights reserved.
A growing concern that increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are contributing to global climate change has led to a search for economical and environmentally sound ways to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. One promising approach is CO2 capture and permanent storage in deep geologic formations, such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs, unminable coal seams, and deep brine-containing (saline) formations. However, successful implementation of geologic storage projects will require robust monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) tools. This article deals with all aspects of MVA activities associated with such geologic CO2 storage projects, including site characterization, CO2 plume tracking, CO2 flow rate and injection pressure monitoring, leak detection, cap-rock integrity analysis, and long-term postinjection monitoring. Improved detailed decision tree diagrams are presented covering the five stages of a geologic storage project. These diagrams provide guidance from the point of site selection through construction and operations to closure and postclosure monitoring. Monitoring, verification, and accounting techniques (both well-established and promising new developments) appropriate for various project stages are discussed. Accomplishments of the Department of Energy (DOE) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships field projects serve as examples of the development and application to geologic storage of MVA tools, such as two-dimensional and three-dimensional seismic and microseismic, as well as the testing of new cost-effective monitoring technologies. Although it is important that MVA and computer simulation efforts be carefully integrated to ensure long-term success of geologic storage projects, this article is limited to a discussion of MVA activities.
This article is an extension of a report published in 2009 by the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory titled, “Best Practices for Monitoring, Verification, and Accounting of CO2 Stored in Deep Geologic Formations,” to which interested readers are referred for more details on MVA tools. Ultimately, a robust MVA program will be critical for establishing carbon capture and storage as a viable greenhouse gas mitigation strategy.
Sean I. Plasynski received his B.S. and M.S. degrees and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business. He is currently the director of the Office of Coal and Power R&D within the Strategic Center for Coal at the Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory.
John T. Litynski received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an M.S. degree from Johns Hopkins University in environmental engineering and science. He currently serves as the carbon sequestration sequestration technology manager in the Strategic Center for Coal at the Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory. John is a registered professional engineer and project management professional.
Howard G. McIlvried received his B.S. and M.S. degrees and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He currently serves as principal engineer for KeyLogic Systems at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. He has more than 50 yr of experience in petroleum refining, synthetic fuel production, and carbon capture and storage.
Derek M. Vikara received his B.S. degree in environmental science from Allegheny College and his M.S. degree in environmental engineering from the University of Connecticut. He is currently an environmental engineer with KeyLogic Systems at the Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory. He has 8 yr experience in environmental engineering and carbon capture and storage. He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania.
Rameshwar D. Srivastava, Ph.D., is currently the principal engineer supervisor at KeyLogic Systems at the Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, where he has served for more than 20 yr. Previously, he was a visiting professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and professor and chairman of chemical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology.