CCS and Power Systems

Carbon Storage - Geologic Storage Technologies and Simulation and Risk Assessment

Reducing Uncertainties in Model Predictions Via History Matching of CO2 Migration and Reactive Transport Modeling of CO2 Fate at the Sleipner Project, Norwegian North Sea

Performer: Trustees of Indiana University

Project No: FE0004381

Program Background and Project Benefits

The overall goal of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Storage Program is to develop and advance technologies that will significantly improve the effectiveness of geologic carbon storage, reduce the cost of implementation, and prepare for widespread commercial deployment between 2020 and 2030. Research conducted to develop these technologies will ensure safe and permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without adversely affecting energy use or hindering economic growth.

Geologic carbon storage involves the injection of CO2 into underground formations that have the ability to securely contain the CO2 permanently. Technologies being developed for geologic carbon storage are focused on five storage types: oil and gas reservoirs, saline formations, unmineable coal seams, basalts, and organic-rich shales. Technologies being developed will work towards meeting carbon storage programmatic goals of (1) estimating CO2 storage capacity +/- 30 percent in geologic formations; (2) ensuring 99 percent storage permanence; (3) improving efficiency of storage operations; and (4) developing Best Practices Manuals. These technologies will lead to future CO2 management for coal-based electric power generating facilities and other industrial CO2 emitters by enabling the storage and utilization of CO2 in all storage types.

The DOE Carbon Storage Program encompasses five Technology Areas: (1) Geologic Storage and Simulation and Risk Assessment (GSRA), (2) Monitoring, Verification, Accounting (MVA) and Assessment, (3) CO2 Use and Re-Use, (4) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP), and (5) Focus Area for Sequestration Science. The first three Technology Areas comprise the Core Research and Development (R&D) that includes studies ranging from applied laboratory to pilot-scale research focused on developing new technologies and systems for GHG mitigation through carbon storage. This project is part of the Core R&D GSRA Technology Area and works to develop technologies and simulation tools to ensure secure geologic storage of CO2. It is critical that these technologies are available to aid in characterizing geologic formations before CO2-injection takes place in order to predict the CO2 storage resource and develop CO2 injection techniques that achieve optimal use of the pore space in the reservoir and avoid fracturing the  confining zone (caprock). The program’s R&D strategy includes adapting and applying existing technologies that can be utilized in the next five years, while concurrently developing innovative and advanced technologies that will be deployed in the decade beyond. This project is working to validate model uncertainties by history matching data relating to CO2 fate and transport in the subsurface.

The Sleipner project is an international collaboration that will demonstrate that prediction and simulations of plume behaviors and trapping mechanisms are robust at a site with favorable geological conditions. This helps the DOE Carbon Storage program meet the goals of demonstrating that 99 percent storage permanence and improving the efficiency of carbon storage operations. An improved understanding of CO2 behavior will increase our ability to model and predict the behavior of potential reservoirs targeted for investigation by NETL and its partners. This project, by making available a wealth of data from the world’s first industrial CO2 injection site, will greatly benefit the work of Regional Partnerships conducting large volume injection experiments. Results show that good match can be obtained with a set of reasonable data parameters. In addition, improved stakeholder and public acceptance of carbon storage can be achieved through the successful outcome of this highly visible project.


The overall objective is to assess and reduce uncertainties of model predictions of CO2 plume migration, trapping mechanisms, and storage capacity estimates. Because these predictions are necessary at all stages of CO2 storage operations (site assessment/selection, design, installation, operations and monitoring, and closure/post-closure), improved assessment of model uncertainties is critical to regulatory approval and public acceptance. Specific objectives are:

  • Reduce model uncertainties through history matching of the CO2 plume migration over the past 17 years at the Sleipner site. Then, use the flow model as the basis to develop coupled reactive transport model to simulate water-rock interaction and long-term fate of CO2 at Sleipner.

  • Reduce uncertainties in prediction of the long-term fate of CO2 through implementing rigorous geochemical kinetics and through a number of bounding calculations and sensitivity analyses.

Project Details