Geologic Carbon Sequestration

Advancing science and technology for safe and effective geologic carbon sequestration

The Geological Carbon Sequestration (GCS) Program uses theory along with lab, field, and simulation approaches to investigate processes needed to inform and guide the safe and effective implementation of geologic carbon sequestration. Through collaborations with partner organizations that lead major field projects involving CO2 injection, GCS program investigators confront and solve real-world challenges in monitoring, modeling, and data analysis. Through applying their world-leading capabilities, EESA investigators develop innovative and deployable scientific solutions to these challenges with an emphasis on applicability, knowledge dissemination, and technology transfer.

Key topics of investigation include:

  • Capacity, trapping mechanisms, and permanence
  • Field studies at CO2 injection sites, including fluid sampling under in situ conditions (U-Tube)
  • Monitoring and verification using geophysical (e.g., seismic) and surface methods (e.g., InSAR)
  • Containment assurance (leakage, seepage, and well-blowout impacts and mitigation)
  • Impacts on the environment, including to groundwater and induced seismicity
  • Risk-based assessment and certification
  • Performance prediction (using TOUGH suite of codes)
  • CO2-enhanced hydrocarbon recovery options
  • Machine learning for faster simulation and data analysis

Recent science & program advances

Advances in Field Monitoring and Data Analysis

  • Demonstrated the combination of Surface Orbital Vibrators (SOV) as seismic sources and fiber optic-based Distributed Acoustic Sensors (DAS) as a cost-effective, on-demand, and minimally invasive approach for time-lapse seismic reservoir monitoring
  • Developed an integrated cross-well electromagnetic and seismic system to monitor the evolution of injected CO2 plumes by simultaneously measuring plume size, boundaries, and internal saturation
  • Demonstrated the first offshore use of dark fiber monitoring for potential use in CO2 leakage monitoring, such as in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Established detection thresholds, sensitivities, effectiveness, and optimal monitoring network design for geophysical methods of CO2 plume measurement and verification
  • Determined by field laboratory experiments that in cap rock faults, leakage is limited to high pressurized patches where a large mixed-mode opening and near declamping of the fault occurs leading to mostly aseismic fault opening and related leakage, and also leakage-rate control on fault slip and induced seismicity
  • Demonstrated multiscale and multipath channeling of CO2 flow in the hierarchical fluvial reservoir at Cranfield, Mississippi, and thermal fracturing and self‐propping induced by liquid CO2 injection in the thick multilayered reservoirs at Ordos, China, through an exhaustive deep-dive analysis of field data
  • First comprehensive investigations into GCS in fractured reservoirs for enhanced storage and monitoring comprising: experimental and modeling studies on fracture-matrix interactions of dissolved and free-phase CO2, reaction-induced fracture alteration (aperture and near-fracture region), and shear mechanics, dynamic friction, and strain-dependent slip on rock fractures

Laboratory and Modeling Advances

  • Developed an integrated automation algorithm for pressure management of GCS systems including: (1) analysis and interpretation of monitoring data; (2) reservoir model testing; (3) updating of model parameters using inverse modeling methods; and (4) logic for revising reservoir management schemes based on the updated reservoir model predictions. The test site for this work is the Brine Extraction Storage Test (BEST) site in the deep in Florida.
  • Simulated the first coupled CO2 well-reservoir blowout into the seawater column showing effective dissolution of CO2 for water depths greater than 50 m
  • Developed new simulation capabilities for CO2 phase change and multicomponent mixtures including miscibility with multicomponent oil

Relevant Projects


EESA benefits from rich partnerships with our collaborators and sponsors. See project & program links above for more information.

Publication Highlights

Time-Lapse Gravity Monitoring of CO2 Migration Based on Numerical Modeling of a Faulted Storage Complex. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2020

3D vertical seismic profile acquired with distributed acoustic sensing on tubing installation: A case study from the CO2CRC Otway Project. Interpretation, 2019

A 2.5 D reactive transport model for fracture alteration simulation, Environmental Science & Technology. 2016

Pressure management via brine extraction in geological CO2 storage: Adaptive optimization strategies under poorly characterized reservoir conditions. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2019

Illuminating seafloor faults and ocean dynamics with dark fiber distributed acoustic sensing. Science, 2019

Major CO2 blowouts from offshore wells are strongly attenuated in water deeper than 50 m. Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 2020

On producing CO2 from subsurface reservoirs: simulations of liquid‐gas phase change caused by decompression. Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 2019

Active surface and borehole seismic monitoring of a small supercritical CO2 injection into the subsurface: experience from the CO2CRC Otway Project, Active Geophysical Monitoring, 2020

Experimental development of low-frequency shear modulus and attenuation measurements in mated rock fractures: Shear mechanics due to asperity contact area changes with normal stress, Geophysics, 2017

Strain‐dependent partial slip on rock fractures under seismic‐frequency torsion, Geophysical Research Letters, 2017

Approximate solutions for diffusive fracture‐matrix transfer: Application to storage of dissolved CO2 in fractured rocks, Water Resources Research, 2017

Dynamic Processes of CO2 Storage in the Field: 1. Multiscale and Multipath Channeling of CO2 Flow in the Hierarchical Fluvial Reservoir at Cranfield, Mississippi, Water Resources Research, 2020

Estimating perturbed stress from 3-D borehole displacements induced by fluid injection in fractured or faulted shales, Geophys. J. Int, 2020

Complexity of fault rupture and fluid leakage in shale: Insights from a controlled fault activation experiment, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2020

Induced seismicity in geologic carbon storage, Solid Earth, 2019

Long-term thermal effects on injectivity evolution during CO2 storage, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2017

Thermal effects on geologic carbon storage, Earth-Science Reviews, 2017

Approximate solutions for diffusive fracture‐matrix transfer: Application to storage of dissolved CO2 in fractured rocks, Water Resources Research, 2017

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