Fluid flow, pressure, and water management comprise a key technology area that provides the knowledge and tools needed to design effective injection operations, optimize injection rates, make efficient use of reservoir storage volume, and ensure the sealing capability of caprock formations.
Fluid flow, fluid pressure, and water management in the injection reservoir, along with geologic properties of caprocks, are factors that must be understood in order to optimize injection operations, rates, and use of reservoir storage space.
The flow of CO2 in the reservoir and attendant changes in temperature and pressure are affected by many factors, such as sedimentary structure and hydrologic properties of the reservoir, and the presence of naturally occurring fractures and faults. A number of two- and three-dimensional computer simulators are used today for predicting CO2 flow and temperature and pressure changes based on intrinsic reservoir properties.
Research Agenda and Challenges
Additional effort is needed to develop coupled, basin-scale simulators that model effects of factors such as fractures and that can be used for a variety of storage formations. In addition, the displacement of water by CO2 must be understood and appropriate water management techniques employed.
Specific research pathways in fluid flow, pressure, and water management include:
NETL-Supported Fluid Flow, Pressure, and Water Management Research
NETL supports projects that are addressing research challenges within the Fluid Flow, Pressure, and Water Management key technology area. Examples of projects supporting this key technology span a range of topics including (1) development of improved system models that can be used to determine the suitability of specific geologic sites for long-term storage of CO2; (2) addressing knowledge gaps in the design and implementation of commercial-scale CO2 storage projects to ensure long-term containment; (3) development of new modeling capabilities for simulation of CO2 and brine migration in fractured reservoirs; (4) investigation of flow interactions between fractures and formation minerals to better model and predict CO2 distribution within a storage reservoir; and (5) improvement in understanding of fractured basalt reservoirs and the impact basalt structure and chemistry has on flow and mineral trapping of injected CO2.
These schematics show three possible carbonation scenarios within fractures in basalts. Carbonation is the result of chemical precipitation from interactions between the minerals in the basalt and the injected carbon dioxide. Each scenario will affect carbonation by either impeding or improving storage. (Washington University; DE-FE0023382)
The GSRA webpage offers links to detailed information on projects performing research in this area.