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Paul Jensen (ALS Laboratory group), Nick Hudson (CTSCo) and Katherine Romanak (BEG) stand beside one of the soil gas stations being used for real-time environmental monitoring at the Surat Basin CCS demonstration site. The project is upscaling and improving on Romanak’s initial design for using commercially available sensors for real-time data collection at CO2 geological storage sites. (e.g. Romanak et al., 2014, Energy Procedia 63 ( 2014 ) 4027 – 4030; Romanak, 2015, Chapter 38, in Gerdes, K. F., ed., Carbon dioxide capture for storage in deep geological formations–results from the CO2 Capture Project, Volume 4: CCS Technology Development and Demonstration Results (2009-2014): UK, CPL Press and BP, p. 705-732.)

From February 24- March 7, 2017,  Katherine Romanak travelled to Queensland Australia to provide expertise and conduct research in environmental monitoring for the  Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation Pty Ltd (CTSCo) Surat CCS demonstration projectThe project is designed to demonstrate the technical viability, integration and safe operation of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the Surat Basin. Currently in the feasibility study stage, the project is undergoing assessments and approvals in environmental, social and technical aspects, under the relevant government regulation.)

Romanak’s research project is funded by the Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research and Development Ltd (ANLEC R&D) on behalf of the Australian coal industry and the Australian Commonwealth government. This project will support compliance with environmental requirements for Monitoring and Verification (M&V), including early communication with CTSCo Surat Basin Project stakeholders. The research will help to define a way forward for environmental monitoring at the CTSCo Surat Basin project site and ultimately at project sites within other Australian sedimentary basins.

The hypothesis being tested is that simple soil gas ratios can be used for real-time accurate environmental signal attribution, even in hydrocarbon-rich environments. Also being tested is the degree to which isotopes can be used for signal attribution. This research will give an indication of the most useful methods for environmental compliance and near-surface (M&V) at the CTSCo Surat CCS demonstration project and beyond.
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    The R/V Brooks-McCall, approximately 50 m in length, tows the P-cable system in October 2013 in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy of TDI-Brooks International.

    The Gulf Coast Carbon Center is delighted to have received funding for a new project that will improve monitoring of carbon storage in offshore reservoirs. Tip Meckel is the PI on a $2.5 M award under DOE’s Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration Crosscut initiative to deploy and validate a novel, ultrahigh resolution 3D marine seismic technology at the Tomakomai carbon storage site in Japan.

    The technology, known as the P-cable because it is towed perpendicular to the direction of a ship’s track, has been used successfully off of the Texas coast to evaluate and characterize storage units with exceptional spatial resolution. Trailing long streamers equipped with seismic receivers in tight formation, the P-cable provides high resolution 3D seismic imagery in a region extending from the seafloor down to about 1500 meters. The detailed data can be used to infer the history of fluid migration, which is key to ensuring that carbon dioxide is stored where it will not leak. The effort was performed as part of the GCCC’s Offshore Miocene Project.

    Schematic of the P-cable system

    With the new funding, the P-cable will be used to evaluate storage units at the Tomakomai Site, a fully developed carbon capture and storage project offshore from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The project seeks to test feasibility, and if favorable, deploy the P-cable to demonstrate significantly improved spatial resolution and accuracy over a commercially meaningful offshore area. Such high-quality and high-resolution data should decrease both cost and uncertainty in measurements supporting monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) in the subsea environment.

    “This is  an excellent method for GCCC and the US program to advance our expertise in storage in the near-offshore setting via international collaboration with the unique project in Japan,” said Susan Hovorka, GCCC’s Primary Investigator.

  • We are delighted to share the news that the Gulf Coast Carbon Center has received funding for three new projects. These efforts span the breadth of our technical expertise from characterizing new storage units in offshore depleted fields to utilizing new operational tools for safely injecting in onshore brine reservoirs to deploying smart technologies for whole system monitoring. Here’s a preview of our upcoming work and we look forward to keeping you up-to-date on our progress.

    Offshore Asessment

    CO2 Storage Study TX-LA USAThe aim of this DOE-funded project is to conduct an offshore carbon storage resource assessment of the Gulf of Mexico Texas – Louisiana study area. The project, called TXLA for the region of interest, is headed up by Tip Meckel and Ramón Treviño.

    The carbon dioxide storage capacity of depleted oil and natural gas reservoirs will be assessed utilizing existing data such as well logs, records and sample descriptions from existing or plugged and abandoned wells, available seismic surveys, existing core samples, and other available geologic and laboratory data from historical hydrocarbon industry activities. One significant benefit of working in this Gulf Coast region is that rich data is available in the heavily explored portions of the inner continental shelf of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf of Mexico coastal areas.

    Using existing data, TXLA will also assess the ability and capacity of saline formations in the region to safely and permanently store nationally-significant amounts of anthropogenic CO2. The study will identify at least one specific site with potential to store at least 30 million tons of CO2 that could be considered for a commercial or integrated demonstration project in the future. The project will also engage the public and other stakeholders for the region through outreach activities to apprise them of the study objectives and results.

    Pressure Management

    Seyyed Hosseini is the Primary Investigator on a new project called  Pressure Management and Plume Control Strategies through a Brine Extraction Storage Test at the Devine Test Site. Funded by DOE’s Carbon Storage program, which focuses on developing specific subsurface engineering approaches that address research needs critical for advancing carbon capture and storage to commercial scale, the work will be performed in partnership with GE Global Research.

    Pressure management through brine extraction can solve many of the problems associated with injection of CO2 for geological storage. Extracted brine can be fed into brine treatment and desalination units for water recovery. The schematic above for the Active Pressure Management strategy (APMS) shows the storage zone where CO2 would be injected. An extraction well that extends to the storage zone would be used to actively pump brine from the storage zone to the surface to control pressure buildup in the storage zone. The brine can be treated at the surface and the treatment residuals would be disposed of into a distinct geologic unit.

    The project will test active brine extraction wells, passive pressure relief wells, and combinations of both, to control the pressure buildup in the storage formation. Under each pressure management strategy, a complete life-cycle analysis for brine, along with brine handling strategies, will be developed. The proposed study will include some lab and pre-pilot scaling work to obtain the design parameters for Phase II. The proposed field site is the University of Texas at Austin’s Devine test site.

    Intelligent Monitoring

     Alex Sun received funding for the project “Development of a Framework for Data Integration, Assimilation, and Learning for Geological Carbon Sequestration” or DIAL-GCS through DOE’s Carbon Storage program. Because the safe and efficient operation of a carbon sequestration project integrates many sophisticated instruments and produces intensive data, DIAL-GCS takes an intelligent approach to monitoring. Leveraging recent advances in machine learning technologies, complex event processing, reduced-order modeling, and uncertainty quantification, among others, DIAL-GCS will develop and demonstrate a closed-loop monitoring system that will automate geologic carbon sequestration and track carbon dioxide as it flows within storage reservoirs. The system will be validated using both real and simulated data from one of GCCC’s historical field projects.