The Carbon Storage Program supports Monitoring, Verification, Accounting (MVA), and Assessment research in the four key technology areas described below. Research in these areas, in conjunction with small- and large-scale injection field tests, is expected to produce advanced MVA tools that can be applied in a systematic approach to address monitoring requirements across the range of storage formations, depths, porosities, permeabilities, temperatures, pressures, and associated confining formation properties likely to be encountered in CCS. The increased capabilities of MVA tools will yield the ability to differentiate between natural and anthropogenic CO2, monitor the migration of CO2 plume and pressure front, and verify containment effectiveness resulting in the protection of human health and the environment. An additional benefit of these research efforts will be the reduction in storage cost through optimal application of these tools.
The primary benefit of monitoring, verification, accounting, and assessment research is the development of tools and protocols that provide assurance of permanence for geologic CO2 storage. It is necessary to develop advanced monitoring technologies, as well as supporting protocols, to decrease the cost and uncertainty in measurements needed to satisfy regulations for tracking the fate of subsurface CO2 and quantify any emissions to the atmosphere.
MVA tools have advanced in application, sensitivity, and resolution over the last 10 years as both large- and small-scale demonstrations of geologic CO2 storage have occurred. Large commercial operations—such as Sleipner in Norway, Weyburn in Canada, In Salah in Algeria, and efforts of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships in the United States—have resulted in the application and validation of monitoring tools from DOE’s Carbon Storage R&D Program that identify CO2 in the target formation, overburden, or at the surface, and in potential migration pathways from the formation to the surface. For example, the Carbon Storage Program supported the first successful application of gravity measurements to augment seismic monitoring at the Sleipner project. In the In Salah project, the Carbon Storage Program supported modeling and analysis of InSAR data, which was important to understanding CO2 injection related pressure changes in and above the reservoir.
Each MVA key technology has a specific research pathway the can be seen by clicking the thumbnail above. For each pathway, the timeline shows a development process that begins with applied research and continues with system integration and small-scale testing, and finally culminates in incorporation into a large-scale field test.
This video demonstrates the installation of a well casing-conveyed permanent downhole monitoring system developed by the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center. This is an example of a monitoring technology that can be used at geologic storage and enhanced oil recovery sites for continuous pressure and temperature monitoring of the producing or storage reservoir and the overlying rock layers, which provides real-time information to support decision making and reservoir performance evaluations.