The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences

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Bureau Seminar, September 11, 2009

Big Science and Big Funding – BEG research addressing
CO2 Injection and retention in the deep subsurface

Dr. Sue Hovorka, Gulf Coast Carbon Center
Bureau of Economic Geology

Geologic sequestration of CO2 is one of the currently well-funded research areas in the geosciences. The Bureau is participating in seven sequestration research projects now underway; eleven projects have been recently funded, and 14 additional proposals have been submitted. The Bureau is lead on twelve projects, and is collaborating with eleven university, research organization, and industry leads.

Research objectives for these projects are diverse, but a recurrent theme is verification of key model results with monitoring data from field projects. One example is research underway in the Tuscaloosa Formation at Cranfield, Mississippi to measure interwell and along-borehole changes resulting from large volume CO2 injection. High heterogeneity in coarse-grained, amalgamated fluvial sandstones can lead to poor sweep efficiency, a factor which limits sequestration capacity. Imaging sweep in detail over a 30 x 20 m cross-well “panel” of the flow unit using diverse time-lapse well-based measurements will be undertaken over the next few months. Techniques including cross well acoustic tomography, continuous active seismic monitoring, cross well electrical resistance tomography, thermal perturbation, pulsed neutron logging, borehole gravity survey, downhole pressure and temperature, and fluid sampling with tracers will be undertaken with eight collaborators.

Complementary programs in geomechanical testing and near surface monitoring are also underway at this site.


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