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April 28, 2015   BEG Industry Day. GCCC researchers and graduate research assistants participated in the annual even, which was held at BEG’s Houston Research Center. As in previous years, GCCC and other BEG groups presented their research during a well-attended poster session. Becky Smyth presented "Monitoring CO2: the quest for a clean signal." Jacob Anderson presented "Light Hydrocarbon Geochemical Changes during Migration through Overburden: Proxy for Potential Geological Carbon Storage Leakage." Francis Mulcahy presented "Use of high resolution 3D seismic data to evaluate Quaternary valley evolution during transgression, offshore San Luis Pass, Gulf of Mexico." Dallas Dunlap and Ramon Trevino presented "High resolution 3D Imaging of Quaternary Channelization Offshore San Luis Pass, Texas." Johnathon Osmond presented "Fault observations in Lower Miocene to recent sediments using high-resolution shallow P-Cable and conventional offshore 3-D seismic data in the San Luis Pass, Texas." Other GCCC researchers in attendance were Sue Hovorka, Jiemin Lu, and Hilary Olson,. GCCC staff members were happy to participate in discussions with a number of our industry sponsors who attended the meeting. Houston, TX

Jacob Anderson speaks with industry representatives about his research.

Francis Mulcahy speaks with industry representatives about his research.

Jonathan Osmond speaks with industry representatives about his research.
April 23, 2015   At its annual First Author Publication Awards Dinner, the Bureau of Economic Geology paid tribute to researchers who were first authors of papers published in 2014. Thirty-six first authors were recognized at this year’s event, eight for the first time. GCCC post-doc Akand Islam had the most first-author publications in 2014, with a remarkable five articles. Congratulations Akand!
April 18-23, 2015   In support of the CCUS initiative of the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, Tip Meckel, Susan Hovorka and Jiemin Lu attended a series meetings and workshops in Beijing, Shanwei, and Guangzhou in China. One of the primary purposes of the visit was to attend the 2nd CCUS workshop of U.S.-China CCWG in support offshore CCUS in Gulf of Mexica and Guangdong offshore as potential counterfacing U.S.-China CCUS projects under CCWG initiatives. The other major objective is for Gulf Coast Carbon Center to establish working relationship with various Chinese research groups and industrial partners who are involved in potential offshore CCUS project in Pearl River Basin offshore Guangdong Province. The focus of GCCC efforts was to facilitate technical transfer with U.K.-China (Guangdong) CCUS Center to support the development of offshore CCS demonstration projects in both countries. Susan Hovorka called the trip both productive and prestigious.

During the workshop, Tip Meckel gave a talk, “U.S. Offshore CO2 Storage,” which was followed by discussion with experts from China about ways to further collaborate and to develop strategies to promote Guangdong Offshore CCUS. Susan Hovorka gave a talk Critical role of reservoir characterization in CO2 EOR flood design” and discussed the potentials of modifying CO2 flood design according to reservoir properties to improve production performance at the Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED), PetroChina, in Beijing. The group also toured the Haifeng Power Plant of China Resources Power in Shanwei, Guangdong. Sue Hovorka, Tip Meckel and Jiemin Lu also presented GCCC’s research on the past DOE-funded CCS projects at the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, Guangdong. The trip was facilitated and hosted by the US Department of Energy.

GCCC researchers (L to R) Susan Hovorka, Tip Meckel, Jiemin Lu, and Heping Zhu, Deputy Director of Technology, China Resources Power; a member of the U.S. counsulate; Samuel Tam, China Chief Representative, U.S. Department of Energy, and Dr. Ming Sung, Chief Representative, Asia Pacific, Clear Air Task Force at the Haifeng Power Plant of China Resources Power.

Susan Hovorka and Jiemin Lu visit the control room at the Haifeng Power Plant of China Resources Power.

Tip Meckel presents GCCC's work on offshore CCS at the 2nd CCUS workshop of the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group.
April 14, 2015    Congratulations to Akand Islam and Alexander Y. Sun who have just published the paper, Quantification of CO2 masses trapped through free convection process in isothermal brine saturated reservoir in the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer. The paper investigates dissolution trapping of supercritical CO2 into formation brine as a potential mechanism for reducing buoyancy force in carbon storage formations. This study attempts to quantify how much CO2 can be stored through dissolution trapping assuming the free-phase CO2 will be dissolved continuously on the top of perturbed brine phase. Most former investigations focused on physical explanations of density-driven free convection instability. The aim of this paper is to compute the amount of CO2 (by mass) captured by dissolution trapping until the model reservoir reaches steady state. On average, the simulations performed show that 0.33 – 15 g CO2 will dissolve per year until a heterogeneous unit reservoir volume of 1 m3 reaches complete saturations. For the case of homogeneous reservoir this amount is 0.28 – 6 g.
March 19-20, 2015    South Central Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. Jacob Anderson presented the talk "Light Hydrocarbon Geochemical Changes during Migration through Overburden: Proxy for Potential Geological Carbon Storage Leakage" and Mike Patson presented "Tracing the Effects of Fugitive CO2 on Dissolved Organic Carbon at Carbon Sequestration Sites." Stillwater, OK
March 11, 2015   SECARB 10th Annual Stakeholder's Briefing. Changbing Yang presented "Outcomes and Lessons Learned from Groundwater Monitoring." Lucie Costard presented "Near Surface Stratigraphy and Geophysics."

Susan Hovorka presented "Update on Reservoir Modeling, Final Testing, and P&A Underway" in which she discussed progress at Cranfield field. There, more than 5 million metric tons of CO2 have been injected for EOR, and monitored as part of the DOE-funded SECARB study. Groundwater was monitored at 13 wells over the site, and no evidence of leakage has been detected. Because no leakage has occurred, a series of experiments were conducted to determine how leakage would be detected, should it occur. They included lab reaction of groundwater with aquifer rocks and CO2; field test where CO2-saturated water was injected to see how it interacts with the rock-water system, and reactive transport modeling. The major findings are:

  1. At this site, like others studied, CO2 added to the aquifer does not release any hazardous constituents.
  2. The best analysis for detecting if CO2 has entered the aquifer is dissolved CO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC).
  3. In a natural system with natural variability, the change from CO2 entering the aquifer cannot be detected far from the leak point.
March 7, 2015   Explore UT: The Biggest Open House in Texas. GCCC staff participated in the annual expo, which spans the entire Forty Acres, hosting 500 busloads of students who arrive for a day full of fun and learning. GCCC activities developed by Susan Hovorka included "Find Gold" and "What to Do About CO2."

Susan Hovorka (Left) and Jacob Anderson (Right) make invisible CO2 real for a young visitor.
February 21-22, 2015   Dr. Tip Meckel led a coring operation in the inner Texas shelf offshore Galveston Island. The study site was previously imaged in 2013 by Meckel and his collaborators using the UT Bureau of Economic Geology’s high-resolution 3D seismic (Pcable). Seismic interpretations indicates that there is a deep-seated gas chimney at the site and identified a suite of shallow seismic anomalies at a depth 10 to 40 meters below the seafloor. These anomalies have been interpreted to be shallow free gas accumulations. The goal of this core sampling is to determine if the gas anomalies can be identified and resolved with the fine spatial detail imaged in the seismic data. The dataset provides important information for monitoring strategies for the future potential for offshore storage of CO2 in the stratigraphy beneath the offshore State Waters.
The torpedo-shaped instrument on the left side of the vessel is the lead head weight that pushes pipe into the sediment for coring.
February 18, 2015   iPGST (informal Petrology, Geochemistry, Structure & Tectonics) Brownbag Lunch Seminar. Johnathon Osmond presented a talk, "Investigating possible mechanisms of containment failure within lower Miocene to Recent stratigraphy using 3-D seismic data in the San Luis Pass area, Texas Gulf Coast" The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
February 9-11, 2015   The 5th Korea International CCS Conference. Toti Larson attended the conference on Jeju Island, South Korea and presented a talk, "Using coupled models and experiments to understand complex geochemistry of CO2 storage and transport of fugitive gases and fluids." He engaged in fruitful discussions with KCRC Director Dr. Sang-do Park and assistant Dr. Hwansoo Chong who are involved in the planning of onshore pilot CCS projects and commercial-scale offshore projects for the Korea CCS 2020 project. With assistance of GCCC Sponsor KCRC and Dr. Hunsoo Choi, Director of Geochemical Monitoring at KIGAM, which is a research group developing technologies for capture, transport and storage of CO2, Dr. Larson was also invited to speak about his work related to gas transport in the subsurface at the KIGAM research center in Daejeon City, South Korea.
Toti Larson speaks at the 5th International CCS Conference, and enjoys traditional Korean BBQ with KIGAM scientists: Kwon Gyu Park, Jeong Chan Kim, Young Jae Shinn, Hunsoo Choi, and Gutak Chae (Kue-Young Kim photo credit).
February 3, 2015    The Huffington Post published a piece by science writer Juli Berwald, who covers GCCC activities. The article is based on a GCCC blog by Tip Meckel, about the possibility of mitigating Keystone-XL pipeline emissions using CCS on the Gulf Coast.
February 2, 2015   Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Workshop for CCS Capacity for Mexico and China. Vanessa Nunez was invited to speak. Kemper, MS.
January 26-30, 2015   International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Susan Hovorka participated in a meeting, which seeks to bring together experts from around the world to develop international standards for standardization of CCS. Birmingham AL.
January 26, 2015   Tip Meckel is the lead author with Steve Bryant and Ravi Ganesh on a new paper in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Characterization and prediction of CO2 saturation resulting from modeling buoyant fluid migration in 2D heterogeneous geologic fabrics." (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1750583614003855) The paper quantifies saturations for a broad range of clastic facies and depositional architectures, presents a two-dimensional invasion percolation saturation predictor model, validates IP predictor model with natural geologic specimens and field example, and provides implications of saturation variability for capacity estimation and seismic imaging.
January 22, 2015   Legislative Media Open House for Texas Journalists. Katherine Romanak and JP Nicot participated in an open house organized by The University of Texas at Austin aimed at providing the media with expert technical information on legislation that may be proposed in the upcoming session. Austin TX.
(left to right) Charles Werth, GCCC's JP Nicot, David Eaton, and Sheila Olmstead speak to an Austin-based reporter.
January 18-31, 2015   Alex Sun and Jiemin Lu led an experiment to demonstrate the efficacy of a harmonic pulse testing (HPT) technique for monitoring potential leakage from geologic carbon sequestration formations. HPT is a pressure-based, active monitoring technique for detecting the presence of leaks by modulating the injection pattern and monitoring observation well pressure responses. Because an actual example of well failure did not exist, the field project created a controlled release in order to simulate this negative event. The study site included a CO2 injector and two observation wells located approximately 300 ft and 400 ft away. During the experiments, the observation wells were instrumented with high-resolution pressure gauges. Controlled CO2 venting was engineered from one of the observation wells to simulate the worst-case leakage from the reservoir. Square pulses of different period lengths were imposed at the injector by maneuvering the wellhead choking valve. Preliminary analyses of pressure data show promising results. The field experiment was funded by DOE and NETL and coordinated with SECARB. It was conducted in collaboration with a team from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab funded under a different project.
From left to right, Jiemin Lu, Paul Cook (LBL), and Kate Hart (EchoGen) test the controlled release system. Photo courtesy Dr. Barry Freifeld.
January 6, 2015   Along with David Bomse of Mesa Photonics, LLC, Katherine Romanak and Changbing Yang have won an SBIR/STTR FY 2015 Phase I grant for approximately $225,000 for their proposal "Real-time, in situ, process-based soil gas analyzer." This technology was born out of CCS monitoring research but is being supported for its overarching scientitifc value for understanding complex terrestrial systems.

The proposed project builds on two recent innovations. First, Romanak and her colleagues demonstrated that concentration measurements of four simple gases – oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen – are sufficient to characterize and potentially quantify important activity in unsaturated sediments and soils including barometric pumping, aerobic and anaerobic biologic activity (respiration, denitrification and methane oxidation), and CO2 and carbonate dissolution. This approach has been demonstrated successfully at playa lakes where there is systematic spatial variability in CO2 formation and consumption, and at several engineered sites where exogenous gases were added to test the robustness of the process-based method. Second, Mesa Photonics demonstrated an all-optical technique for real-time measurements of the four key gases. Although inexpensive commercial sensors are available for CO2, CH4, and O2, measurements of N2 concentrations require expensive, cumbersome equipment that, in some cases, is incompatible with oxygen.

This project will lead to commercialization of fully-automated and self-contained soil gas analyzers. Each device will be about the size of a one-gallon container and could be powered by a small solar panel with battery backup.
December 9, 2014   UNFCCC Climate Change Conference. GCCC's Vanessa Nuñez Lopez and Katherine Romanak along with Mike Monea from Saskpower, Paulo Negrais Seabra from Petrobras, and Tim Dixon of IEAGHG led a side-event on large-scale onshore and offshore CCS projects. Discussions (http://www.beg.utexas.edu/gccc/blog/?p=393) included programs spearheaded by GCCC such as Cranfield and the Miocene project, as well as SaskPower's Boundary Dam project and Petrobras natural gas offshore operations in Brazil. The side-event, which was both well attended and well received, built on previous momentum generated at UNFCCC meetings in Bonn, Abu Dhabi, and Durban. GCCC technical input to UNFCCC meetings has contributed to the inclusion of CCS as a clean development mechanism (CDM) for developing countries. Lima, Peru
Vanessa Nuñez Lopez and Katherine Romanak at UNFCCC
November 12, 2014   Austin's public radio station KUT interviewed GCCC PI Susan Hovorka regarding a recent deal between China and the US to curb carbon emissions that includes investment in carbon capture and sequestration technologies. (http://kut.org/post/climate-deal-puts-spotlight-carbon-capture-technology)

Together the US and China account for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the White House. Under the agreement, both the US and China set targets to cut emissions by 2025 and 2030, respectively.

Hovorka told KUT that much of the world's expertise in geologic carbon sequestration can be found in Texas because of its long history of enhanced oil recovery. She also said she's eager to see incentives that encourage widespread adoption of the technology.

In a separate interview, KUT also turned to Hovorka to answer basic questions relating to the physics of CO2. (http://kut.org/post/co2-and-history-weighing-smoke)
November 1, 2014   GCCC's Changbing Yang published new papers on groundwater chemistry and CCS in peer-reviewed journals this month; he published numerous additional papers earlier this year.

The paper, Field Demonstration of CO2 Leakage Detection in Potable Aquifers with a Pulselike CO2-Release Test (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es5044003) was published in Environmental Science & Technology. Changbing is lead author and his GCCC coauthors are Susan Hovorka, Ramón Treviño, and Pat Mickler, along with Jesus Delgado-Alonso and Straun Phillips. Two field pulselike CO2-release tests demonstrate CO2 leakage detection in a shallow aquifer by monitoring groundwater pH, alkalinity, and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The study used the periodic groundwater sampling method and a fiber-optic CO2 sensor for real-time in situ monitoring of dissolved CO2 in groundwater.

Process-based soil gas leakage assessment at the Kerr Farm: Comparison of results to leakage proxies at ZERT and Mt. Etna (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1750583614002345) in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control was coauthored by GCCC's Katherine Romanak (lead author) and Brad Wolaver, as well as George William Sherk, Janis Dale, Laura Dobeck, and Lee Spangler. It uses the relatively new process-based soil gas approach to evaluate CO2 leakage at the Kerr farm in Saskatchewan. The approach was then validated using leakage proxies from a controlled-release and from the Etna volcano.

Along with Ramón Treviño, Tongwei Zhang, Katherine Romanak, Kerstan Wallace, Jiemin Lu, Patrick J Mickler, and Susan Hovorka, Changbing published, Regional Assessment of CO2-Solubility Trapping Potential: A Case Study of the Coastal and Offshore Texas Miocene Interval [link to: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es502152y] in the journal Environmental Science & Technology in July. This study presents a regional assessment of CO2-solubility trapping potential (CSTP) in the Texas coastal and offshore Miocene interval, comprising lower, middle, and upper Miocene sandstone.

Earlier this year, Changbing was a coauthor on papers about the geochemical impact of oxygen on siliciclastic carbon storage reservoirs (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1750583613004507), modeling of rock-water-CO2 batch experiments (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es4041368), assessing capacity in the offshore Texas Miocene (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ghg.1380/full), and detecting CO2 leakage in potable aquifers (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ghg.1406/full).

You can always find links to GCCC publications on our bookshelf (http://www.beg.utexas.edu/gccc/forum/codexhome.php).

Remember, you can always find all our GCCC publications on our bookshelf.
October 27-November 5, 2014   GCCC project manager, Ramon Treviño, attended a series of CCS-related events in Taiwan. Most of the events were sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Taiwanese Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). The activities began with a field trip to two depleted gas fields (YHS and TCS) operated by GCCC Sponsor, China Petroleum Corporation, Taiwan (CPC). The YHS field is being considered for pilot CO2 injection, and the TCS field is a gas storage field. Trevino participated in a 3-day workshop in Hsinchu, Taiwan and 1-day symposium in Taipei, where he presented “Capacity Estimates: Methods and Examples,” “Offshore / Subsea Storage Opportunities and Risks: A Case Study from the Gulf of Mexico,” and “Diverse MMV Tools at SECARB’s “Early Test” – Cranfield, Mississippi, USA: An Excellent Case Study.”

Following the workshop, Treviño attended a presentation by Taipower, the Taiwan Power Company, a state-owned electric power utility providing electric power to Taiwan and off-shore islands of Republic of China. The presentation and the following informal discussion centered on the recently completed 3000 m stratigraphic test that Taipower drilled in the near-shore portion of the Tai-hsi Basin. Taipower is considering the Tai-hsi basin as a future CO2 sink. Treviño also attended the “Taiwan CPC Exploration & Development Research Institute Research Results Exhibit” at CPC headquarters. Four GCCC posters were presented, and Trevino was invited by Shin-Tai Hu, Director of Exploration & Development Research Institute, to address the audience regarding GCCC’s current CCS efforts and CPC’s support as a Sponsor.

Ramon Treviño
Ramon Treviño brings a token from the GCCC to Director Hu (Ieft) and Dr. Chen-Hui Fan (right), both with CPC.
October 6-9, 2014   GHGT-12. GCCC staff played an integral role in this most prestigious international CCS meeting, which hosted 1150 attendees from 35 countries in Austin, TX. Susan Hovorka was a member of the steering committee, involved with presentation selection as well as the technical program. GCCC staff gave a variety of talks and poster presentations, and also opened their doors to close to 100 attendees during an evening open house.

GCCC staff gave eight oral presentations during the technical sessions. Tip Meckel and Ramon Treviño presented, "High-resolution 3D seismic investigations of the overburden above potential CCS sites of the inner Texas shelf, Gulf of Mexico, U.S.A." Seyyed Hosseini presented, "Time lapse compressibility monitoring for detection of CO2 leakage in brine aquifers." Jean-Philippe Nicot, Tip Meckel, David Carr, and Curtis M. Oldenburg presented "Impact of seismic events on seal integrity, Texas Gulf Coast." Yuan Liu, Toti Larson, and Jean-Philippe Nicot gave the talk, "Theoretical and experimental study of controls on CO2 dissolution and CH4 outgassing rates." Changbing Yang, Jesus Delgado, Susan Hovorka, Patrick Mickler, Ramon Trevino, and Straun Phillips presented, "Monitoring dissolved CO2 in groundwater for CO2 leakage detection in a shallow aquifer." Katherine Romanak, Susan Hovorka, and Changbing Yang presented, "Detection of CO2 migration from depth to the near-surface." Tip Meckel and Steve Bryant presented "Buoyancy-driven flow in Heterogeneous Materials." Mehdi Zeidouni, J.-P. Nicot, Susan Hovorka, and Vanessa Nuñez-Lopez gave the talk "Effect of depth and leakage pathway flow properties on thermal response to leakage from CO2 storage zone."

GCCC staff also presented the following posters: Seunghee Kim and Seyyed Hosseini, Geological CO2 storage: Incorporation of pore pressure/stress coupling and thermal effect to determine maximum sustainable pressure limit; Alexander Y Sun, Jiemin Lu, Seyyedd Hosseini, and Sue Hovorka, Toward incorporating pressure-based leakage detection into monitoring programs at geologic carbon sequestration sites; Rebecca Smyth, Paul G. Thomas III, and Christopher Heiligenstein, Concerning offshore geologic storage of carbon dioxide in the USA; Rebecca Smyth, Susan Hovorka, Katherine Romanak, Brad Wolaver, Patrick Mickler, and Changbing Yang, Monitoring CO2: The quest for a clean signal (examples from UT Austin BEG research); Katherine D. Romanak, and G.L. Womack, Field test of in situ sensor technology for process-based soil gas monitoring; Seyyed Hosseini, Seunghee Kim, and Mehdi Zeidouni, Application of multi-well analytical models to maximize geological CO2 storage in brine formations; Tip Meckel, Susan Hovorka, Ramon Treviño, Rebecca Smyth, and Katherine Romanak, Toward an international program for offshore storage of CO2: International Initiative for CCS sub-sea (iCCSc); Jiemin Lu, Patrick J. Mickler, and Jean-Philippe Nicot, Geochemical impact of oxygen impurity on siliciclastic and carbonate reservoir rocks for carbon storage; Patrick J Mickler, Changbing Yang, and Jiemin Lu, Laboratory batch experiments and geochemical modelling of water-rock-super critical CO2 reactions in Gulf of Mexico Miocene rocks: Implications for future CCS projects; and Katherine D Romanak, Susan D Hovorka, and Changbing Yang, Detection of CO2 migration from depth to the near-surface; Akand Islam, Aboulghasem Kazemi Nia, Kamy Sepehrnoori, Tad Patzek, Effects of geochemical reaction on double diffusive natural convection of CO2 in brine saturated geothermal reservoir.

BEG Director Scott Tinker welcomed GHGT12 guests to CRC and GCCC staff including Tip Meckel, Pat Mickler, Changbing Yang, Jiemin Lu, Seyyed Hosseini, Susan Hovorka, Hilary Olson, Ramon Trevino, JP Nicot, and Behni Boli presented highlights of GCCC work.
October 22, 2014   Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists (SIPES) Susan Hovorka provides an overview for the public on "Geological Sequestration of CO2" at a one day continuing education seminar on "Geology in the Public Interest: Summary Updates of Topics in the News." Houston, TX
October 15, 2014   GCCC hosted Greg Leamon, formerly of Geoccience Australia in Canberra. Dr. Leamon spoke about his recent work in China with ISO CCS standards. Austin, TX

Greg Leamon has been helping develop definitions of CCS technical terms and MVA methodologies for ISO/TC265.
September 30, 2014   GCCC completed a four and a half year study characterizing Miocene stratigraphy of the Texas coastal zone for CCS activities. (http://www.beg.utexas.edu/gccc/cranfield.php) The DOE-funded project (Gulf of Mexico Miocene CO2 Site Characterization Mega Transect) focused on the Texas state waters. Prospective reservoirs were identified within a sand-rich section in the lower Miocene below a significant mudrock confining zone (Amphistegina haueriana ("Amph b") biochronozone) and above the overpressured section.

Favorable stratigraphy for CCS occurs in the middle- and upper-Miocene section beneath the offshore Texas State Lands. Wallace et al. (2014) Using subsurface methods developed by the petroleum industry, including biostratigraphic data, wireline well logs and 3D seismic, the reservoirs were characterized. The reservoir facies indicate deposition in shallow water (e.g., deltaic, strandplain, fluvial, etc.) depositional systems. A static capacity estimate of the study area yielded 129 Gt CO2. Various confining zones were also characterized both petrographically and by means of a high-resolution 3D ("P-Cable") seismic system acquired using funds from the study.

By providing very high resolution seismic data of the shallowest (approximately 1 second) geologic section, the P-Cable system also allowed for macro-scale characterization of the natural fluid system (e.g., gas chimney) to more rigorously evaluate geo-sequestration targets. Sealing capacities of faults were also analyzed locally using a shale gouge ratio technique. This work concluded that faults in the area can serve as effective seals for CO2, as also suggested by natural hydrocarbon accumulations.

Laboratory experiments of brine-rock-CO2 reactions suggested that the CO2-solubility trapping potential of the section is approximately 5% of the total CO2 storage capacity. Mineral dissolution and mineral trapping (i.e., dawsonite precipitation) add very minor amounts of CO2 capacity. A final Atlas-style product highlighting the major study findings is now being edited. Favorable stratigraphy for CCS occurs in the middle- and upper-Miocene section beneath the offshore Texas State Lands. Wallace et al. (2014)
September 30, 2014   Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security Kick-Off Meeting. Tip Meckel, Susan Hovorka, and Hilary Olson attend. Albuquerque New Mexico
September 20-22, 2014   Fourth U.S.-China CO2 Emissions Control Science & Technology Symposium. Susan Hovorka presents a talk on the SECARB field test. Hangzhou, China
September 18, 2014   Xinjiang CCUS Outreach Workshop. Susan Hovorka presents "The Texas EOR Experience at the Urumri. The workshop is organized by the Clean Air Task Force. Xinjinag, China
September 5, 2014   Susan Hovorka and BEG Director Scott Tinker attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Petra Nova CCUS project to be conducted at the WA Parish Power Plant and West Ranch Field. Expected to be complete in 2016, the project will be the world's largest post-combustion carbon-capture facility installed on an existing coal plant. The captured carbon will be used for EOR in West Ranch field and GCCC is assisting with monitoring of the storage. Near Houston, TX
BEG Director Scott Tinker talking with Deputy Assistant Secretary for DOE Fossil Energy Chris Smith and other guests at the Petra Nova Groundbreaking
BEG Director Scott Tinker talking with Deputy Assistant Secretary for DOE Fossil Energy Chris Smith and other guests at the Petra Nova Groundbreaking
August 12-14, 2014   DOE/NETL Carbon Storage R&D Project Review Meeting. Ramon Trevino, Katherine Romanak, Seyyed Hossini, and Tip Meckel participated as panelists and provided an update on status of the SECARB Early test at Cranfield. Meckel and Trevino provided a summary of results of the Miocene offshore capacity study; Hossieni gave a summary of first year results from Easi-tooll; Alex Sun provided a status report of the PIDAS project. Romanak attended the NRAP review on behalf of the SECARB early test. Trevino presented the poster on Lessons Learned at the Cranfield test. Pittsburgh, PA
August 8, 2014   Workshop on Technical and Business Risks Associated with Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) and Expanding CO2-EOR in Texas and Beyond. Susan Hovorka presented at Learnings and Lowering Uncertainties from GCCC CO2-EOR Related Projects in the Gulf Coast. The workshop was hosted by the Center of Energy Economics and Ian Duncan and STARR. Austin, TX
August 4-8, 2014   IEA GHG R&D Programme Combined Monitoring and Modelling Network Meeting. As members of the Steering Committee, Susan Hovorka and Katherine Romanak particapted in a three day cross-disciplinary meeting that generated much discussion. Romanak presented a talk, "Current and Emerging Near-Surface Monitoring Techniques--Technical Advances and Cost-Effectiveness from a Recent Case Study." Tip Meckel presented "Overburden Imaging Using High-Resolution 3D seismic: Perspectives from Three Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico using P-cable technology." Hovorka gave a talk, "Model-Based Monitoring Design for Determining Plume Stabilization: a Proposed Plan for the Citronelle Geometry" and presented a poster, "Lessons Learned at Cranfield Early Test." Morgantown. WV
July 30 - August 1, 2014    Vanessa Nuñez-Lopez, Brad Wolaver, and Eric Potter took part in a working session at Ecopetrol's R&D subsidiary ICP. The focus of the meeting was GCCC-Ecopetrol technical collaboration related to CO2 geological sequestration and EOR in Colombia. As part of the project, GCCC will perform a technical and economic analysis of CCUS in three basins in Colombia in order to help Ecopetrol develop strategies for the management of their CO2 emissions. Bucaramanga, Colombia
Vanessa Nuñez-Lopez (far right)
Vanessa Nuñez-Lopez (right) enjoys a break with Martha Herrera and Diana Beltran from Ecopetrol-ECP
July 22-23, 2014   SECARB Joint MVA Team Meeting. EPRI hosted the meeting at which a number of GCCC staff presented talks on the status of monitoring at Cranfield field. Ramon Trevino discussed the project's status and the Arkansas NATCARB. Jacob Anderson gave a talk titled, "Near-surface surveillance with airborne geophysics." Andrew Duguid presented, "Well integrity and zonal isolation." Makiko Takagishi gave a talk on the RITE collaboration on microseismicity; Changbing Yang gave a talk on the Intelligent Optics field test and groundwater; and Seyyed Hosseini gave a talk on a whole field Cranfield model, all via a web connection. Susan Hovorka led an open discussion on lessons learned at Cranfield. Palo Alto, CA
Islands Stromboli and Panarea off the coast of Italy
From the island of Salina, Italy the active volcano “Stromboli” (left) and the Island of Panarea (right) are visible. Panarea is an area of active magmatic degassing where CO2 fluxes across the seafloor. The site is an analogue for CO2 leakage from an offshore CCS site. It is a natural laboratory used by the European ECO2 project to study the effects of CO2 leakage in a shallow marine environment and to test monitoring approaches.

June 2-6, 2014    3rd Annual Meeting of the ECO2 Sub-seabed CO2 Storage Impact on Marine Ecosystems European Project Katherine Romanak was invited to present “Process-based leakage detecion, application to marine environments.” Marine scientists are considering how the process-based approach, used to assess leakage at terrestrial CCS sites, might be applied to marine sediments. At the conference, Romanak scuba dived off the coast of Panarea Isalnd, a natural volcanic analogue for the release of CO2 from the sub seabed. With her colleaguies from Italy, Romanak observed CO2 bubbling through the seabed and learned about environmental protection in the marine environment above offshore CCS sites. Romanak was invited to participate as an external member of the Science Advisory board for the ECO2 Project and is actively pursuing collaboration with European colleagues on a Horizon 20/20 grant LCE-15-2015 “Enabling decarbonisation of the fossil fuel-based power sector and energy intensive industry through CCS.” Salina Island, Italy
Romanak (far left) and Italian colleagues
Romanak (on the left) and Italian colleagues prepare to scuba dive in the CO2 bubbles off the coast of Panarea Island, a natural laboratory for studying the effects of CO2 leakage at offshore CCS sites.
July 18, 2014    Katherine Romanak presented “Monitoring and Environmental Protection at Geologic Carbon Storage Sites” for the US Congressional Briefing Series “Energy from the Earth.” The series was designed by a consortium of professional geoscience societies working together to inform energy legislation by making technical information available to US policymakers. The briefing on CCS was Part 6 of the series and entitled “Geologic Carbon Storage: Feasibility, Technology, and Challenges” and was presented once in the morning at a location within the House of Representatives and again in the afternoon at a location within the Senate. Topics included: geological requirements for carbon dioxide storage, potential for storage in the US, facility design and technology, strategies to minimize risk including groundwater impacts and the potential for induced seismicity, and monitoring needs for storage verification and public assurance. Other speakers were Peter Warwick (USGS) and Josh White (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) with Brenda Pierce (USGS) moderating. The presentations were well attended by members from the US Senate, the US House of Representatives and various subcommittees relating to Energy and Environment. The audience was engaged in the topic and many questions followed the presentations. Washington, D.C.
Katherine Romanak provides technical insights during a recent Congressional briefing
Katherine Romanak provides technical information on CCS as part of a US Congressional Briefing Series.
July 6-12, 2014   The 8th IEAGHG International CCS Summer School 2014, sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin(TM) and administered by GCCC, was an overwhelming success according to Tim Dixon, Manager Technical Programme and Manager CCS and Regulatory Affairs at IEAGHG.

Dixon wrote that the course was "one of the very best. Amongst the many great outcomes, it resulted in 47 new CCS ambassadors going out across the world, and also new friendships and collaborations forged. The alumni now total 431, with over 47 hailing from the USA, and over 119 from developing countries."

Significant credit is due to Hilary Olson, who organized the course, which included a field trip and hands on experiences for the students, as well as lectures and discussions with numerous GCCC staff. To view the winning student presentation debating whether CCS should be mandatory for developing countries, please click here.
July 14-16, 2014   The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) at the Bureau of Economic Geology hosted a CCS Training Course for a delegation from the Botswana Geological Survey and the Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs. The course was funded by the World Bank and organized by ERM, Carbon Counts, and Wellfields Geosciences with heavy involvement from International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas Programme (IEAGHG).

The goal of the visit was to expose the Botswana delegation to all aspects of CCS as they consider implementing the technology to support clean development of their expanding coal power plant infrastructure. Botswana is economically and politically suitable for implementing CCS due to a stable and strong economy driven by its diamond industry.

The Training Course hosted at the GCCC followed the IEAGHG International Summer School and drew upon the GCCC's and the Summer School's international expertise to present information on all aspects of CCS including site characterization, modelling, monitoring, risk & safety, and policy and economic issues. Hands-on activities included a CCS design project, a look at the core of a real CO2 storage formation, a tour of The University of Texas at Austin's(TM) Separations Research Program CO2 capture pilot plant, and the Hastings CO2-EOR facility in south Houston operated by Denbury Resources.

In addition to the GCCC-hosted portion of the training course, the delegation from Botswana visited the South African CCS Center and learned about CCS from Sasol and the South African government. They also visited the UK where they met various government and industry officials and heard about Shell's CCS activities.

The GCCC is proud to have played a major role in this successful exercise in building the world's capacity for implementing the important technology of CCS.

Delegates from Botswana and BEG staff during the training course.
June 25, 2014   Ecopetrol joins GCCC

We are delighted to welcome Ecopetrol, Colombia's State oil company, as a new member of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center Industrial Associates.

GCCC Sponsor Liaison Hilary Olson says, "Ecopetrol's sponsorship for 2014 affirms the international recognition of the scientific creativity that goes on at the GCCC, and we look forward to productive collaboration with our first sponsor based in South America."

Ecopetrol is an oil and gas company focusing on exploration and production; refining and petrochemicals; transportation, including the largest network of oil pipelines in Columbia; and market and supply. Headquartered in Bogota, Ecopetrol also conducts operations in Peru, Brazil, and the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the 25 largest oil and gas companies and one of the four largest in Latin America.
May 22, 2014   Stanford Center for Carbon Storage Annual Meeting. Susan Hovorka presented "Using EOR as Geologic Storage: Downsides and Benefits." Palo Alto, CA.
June 9, 2014   Determining the storage capacity of any given rock formation is vital to qualifying it for possible CO2 injection and storage. Seyyed Hosseini and GCCC colleagues have developed a novel analytical solution for determining the storage capacity of geological formations, taking into account their thickness, porosity, area, shape, and other factors. For more, please see BEG's news archive.
June 9, 2014   Three students are joining GCCC for the summer. Cristina Rivas is a graduate student at the California State University at Bakersfield. In collaboration with Pat Mickler, she is performing high-pressure, high-temperature autoclave experiments, to quantify the effects of water-rock- supercritical CO2 interactions on formation brine geochemistry. Masoud Alfi is visiting GCCC from Texas A&M at College Station. This summer, he will be working on CO2 injection and history mapping at Cranfield field with Seyyed Hosseini. Jack Jones has returned to his hometown of Austin for the summer after finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma. He is working with Katherine Romanak on carbon sequestration in marine sediments. He will also be running solvent extraction experiments with BEG researcher Tongwei Zhang.

Masoud Alfi, Cristina Rivas, and Jack Jones help study carbon sequestration at GCCC this summer.
June 10, 2014   United States Energy Association Technology Series. Tip Meckel was invited to present The Role of CCS in Diverse Energy Chain Developments & the Global Significance of Offshore Storage. Washington D.C.
May 11-16, 2014   China Australia Geological Storage of CO2 (CAGS) Project. Susan Hovorka attended a back-to-back workshop and training school. CAGS is a 5-year project funded by the Australian government, now in its final year, which allows staff at Geoscience Australia to interact with staff at the major academic research centers in China. GA works with China Geological survey and universities in various provinces, who report to themselves as well as the organizer in China ACCA21. ACCA21 provides technical support and has deep knowledge of policy. The training school engages academics by providing support for students to travel with their professors. Shanghai and Nanjing, China
May 12, 2014   GCCC staff have been awarded a grant from the World Bank to host five high-ranking officials from Botswana for a four-day workshop on CCS following the IEAGHG Summer School in July. The workshop will include two days of classroom teaching on all aspects of CCS by international experts, a one day hands-on mini course "Carbon Storage Design Project" lead by Hilary Olson, and a trip to the Hastings storage site. Austin, TX
Congratulations to Medhi Zeuiduni for two new papers recently accepted. Analytical model of well leakage pressure perturbations in a closed aquifer system has been published in the journal Advances in Water Resources.

Monitoring the above-zone temperature variations associated with CO2 and brine leakage from a storage aquifer with coauthors JP Nicot and Susan Hovorka is in press in the Journal of Environmental Earth Sciences.
April 28-May 1, 2014    13th Annual CCUS Conference. Medhi Zeidouni presented a poster, "Post-injection Tracer Test to Constrain CO2 Residual Trapping and Plume Evolution," with co-authors Susan Hovorka, Jiemin Lu, and JP Nicot. Seunghee Kim gave a talk, "Effect of Pore Pressure/Stress Coupling on Geological CO2 Storage." Pittsburgh, PA
April 11, 2014     The Bureau of Economic Geology hosted Industry Day 2014 at the Bureau's Austin Core Research Center. The theme for this year's event was "Discovering the Bureau: Energy, Economics and the Environment." Industry Day 2014 highlighted the Bureau's unique position among research institutions, investigating such key research areas as unconventional oil and gas exploration and production, energy economics, salt tectonics, natural fractures and structural diagenesis, subsurface micro- and nano-sensing, reservoir characterization in carbonates, mudrocks, and sandstones, carbon storage in geological reservoirs, and the increasingly important water-energy nexus.

The Gulf Coast Carbon Center hosted a booth giving a program overview and staff were be available to answer questions throughout the day. Cores from the injection zone and caprock from the Cranfield Field, Mississippi sequestration site were on display. During the morning environmental session (9:30-10:25) Katherine Romanak gave a talk "New process-based approach to gas leakage detection in groundwater and soils at geologically-engineered sites." In the afternoon session on energy (12:30-1:25pm), Mehdi Zeidouni presented "Thermal signal induced by CO2 leakage from injection zone." Austin, TX.

Susan Hovorka talks with Scott Anderson from EDF.
Jiemin Lu and Becky Smyth speak to Mark Nibbelink from DrillingInfo about capacity estimation at Cranfield, with cores from the confining interval in the background.
April 7, 2014    AAPG Annual Convention. Ramon Trevino presented "Integrating Fluid Migration Interpretation with High-Resolution 3-D Seismic: Application for Miocene CO2 Storage Prospects, Inner Texas Shelf." The talk summarized data acquisition of a high-resolution 3D (HR3D) seismic dataset in Texas State Waters offshore the southern end of Galveston Island and included a brief overview of the capabilities and advantages of HR3D data especially when used in conjunction with other available data including conventional 3D seismic. The objective of the data acquisition was to analyze the shallow geologic section over two salt bodies. Initial analysis of the data suggests that fluids may be actively migrating upward and laterally along structural and stratigraphic pathways. Such data can, therefore, be very useful for selection of sites for potential CO2 storage in deeper reservoirs. Houston, TX
March 2014   Visit to Capitol SkyMine capture and utilization project. Katherine Romanak accompanied international visitors on a tour of the world's first for-profit carbon mineralization plant, which is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2014. San Antonio, TX
Katherine Romanak, second from left, on a tour of SkyMine.
March 4-5, 2014   9th Annual SECARB Stakeholders' Briefing. GCCC staff are participating in a panel on Early Tests. Seunghee Kim discussed geomechanics at Cranfield; Jacob Anderson gave updates on near surface monitoring; and Susan Hovorka provided information on monitoring design best practices. Atlanta, GA
March 3, 2014    Austin Geological Society Monthly Meeting. Susan Hovorka presented "Using Geoscience to Predict the Future: Or how to assure what goes down stays down" Austin TX
March 1, 2014     Explore UT. GCCC staff presented "What to do with CO2?" an interactive exhibit in which students learned about carbon sequestration by manipulating physical models. Explore UT is "the largest open house in Texas," a day when the UT campus opens its doors to thousands of families, school children, and Texas citizens. GCCC's exhibit was staffed by Johnathon Osmond, Jiemin Lu, Michael Patson, Logan West, Sue Hovorka, Prisca Ogbuabuo, Seunghee Kim, Marc Hesse, and Toti Larson. Austin, TX
Logan West explains that CO2 is buoyant in brine reservoirs.
Marc Hesse uses a glass reservoir to demonstrate CO2 injection.
Feb 27, 2014   Third Annual Americas Forum: Moving CCS Forward - Actions and Opportunities. Susan Hovorka will be part of a technology roundtable: The CCS/CCUS Technology Horizon for 2020 and Beyond at the Embassy of Canada, Washington D.C.
February 19-20, 2014   UT Energy Forum. Rebecca Smyth attended. Austin, TX
January 28-30, 2014     The University of Texas 2nd Conference on Carbon Capture and Storage. Along with Texas Carbon Management Program (UT-TxCMP), Geological CO2 Joint Industry Project (UT-GCS JIP), and Carbon Sequestration Initiative (MIT-CSI), GCCC was co-host to more than 200 international guests. The event featured presentations by researchers and students on the technical and strategic issues of global carbon capture and storage. Austin, TX
Susan Hovorka welcomes attendees to UTCCS-2.
January 21, 2014     Visit by Tim Dixon of IEAGHG. Tim Dixon spoke with GCCC staff about a variety of offshore sequestration projects involved in developing monitoring technologies as well as efforts to develop offshore permitting and regulations. Austin, TX
January 14, 2014   2014 Underground Injection Control Conference, Groundwater Protection Council. Susan Hovorka presented "Reporting Storage Effectiveness for EOR." New Orleans, LA.
Vanessa NunezJanuary 14, 2014     Global CCS Institute Webinar on CCS in Venezuela. The Orinoco Belt located in southeastern Venezuela has the potential to be the largest essentially untapped oil accumulation in the world, with an estimated mean volume of 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil, according to a US Geological Survey. A Venezuelan Technical Collective with an interest in limiting the impact of the country’s carbon intensive activities on climate change contacted the Global CCS Institute to explore the global status of carbon storage technologies and projects. In response, Vanessa Nunez presented a webinar in Spanish on the Global Status of Carbon Capture and Storage and EOR with a focus on CCS in Venezuela.
January, 2014     The Bureau congratulates J.P. Nicot who received the Jackson School of Geoscience's most prestigious award, the Joseph C. Walter Excellence Award, for excellence in areas including research, teaching service, professional activity, and administration. J.P. served as Principal Investigator on multiple projects during the past year and garnered special attention for his studies concerning water resource management and water use in shale production.
January, 2014     Congratulations Alex Sun, Seyyed Hosseini, and Jiemin Lu, who have received a substantial grant from the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory for a 3-year program to develop a pressure-based inversion and data assimilation system (PIDAS) for CO2 leakage detection. One of the current major hurdles to industrial-scale implementation of geological carbon sequestration projects is the potential migration of fluids from the storage formations and the resulting liabilities. The ability to accurately identify leakage pathways from the storage zone is crucial to site licensees and regulators. Pressure-based monitoring technology remains the most cost-efficient and reliable technique for early detection, and provides the greatest detection potential for broad areal coverage. The proposed PIDAS tool will expand and strengthen existing pressure-based techniques for leakage detection in GCS repositories, and research will employ advanced analysis, laboratory experiments, and field tests to develop more effective methods for identifying leakage pathways.

2013 News Archive

2012 News Archive

2011 News Archive

2010 News Archive

2009 News Archive

2008 News Archive

2007 News Archive

Previous News and Events

For more information please contact Sue Hovorka, lead technical contact (512-471-4863) susan.hovorka@beg.utexas.edu




GHGT12 wrapped up in Austin to strong reviews. Over 1150 registered attendees from 35 countries shared technical information about CCS while enjoying Texas hospitality. GCCC staff presented eight oral talks, eleven posters, and hosted a successful open house that included tours of the capture facility and core repository as well as highlights of GCCC research.


Carbon dioxide, produced by combustion of fossil fuels, exceeds global assimilative capacity and may result in negative impacts on the ocean and climate. The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) seeks to impact global levels of atmospheric greenhouse-gas emissions by

  • Conducting studies on geologically sequestering CO2 in the deep subsurface, focusing on the Gulf Coast,
  • Educating the public about risks that might limit deployment and measuring the retention of CO2 in the subsurface, and
  • Enabling the private sector to develop an economically viable industry to sequester CO2 in the Gulf Coast area.

For a flier on GCCC mission, activities, impact, and goals, please click here

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