UK-Texas CCS Technology and Legislation Seminar
Abstracts and Presentations

May Akrawi
Consul, Science & Innovation
British Consulate-General Houston

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Steven Bryant
Associate Professor, Petroleum Engineering
University of Texas at Austin

Implementing geologic storage of CO2 at a material scale (ca. 1 Gt C/y) will require an industry comparable in size to the current oil and gas industry and a workforce trained in subsurface engineering. Since the same technologies that apply to hydrocarbon production apply to the subsurface storage of CO2, petroleum engineering (PE) graduates will be valuable candidates to work in the carbon storage industry. We expect however that the demand for PEs from the oil and gas industry will increase, and that already strained educational capacity will not be sufficient to supply both industries. Thus we advocate building new targeted educational infrastructure. We present a model curriculum based on an existing accredited multidisciplinary degree program. This program combines the fundamentals of petroleum engineering with the subsurface architecture emphasis of geology and the environmental perspective of hydrogeology. We indicate key elements of this program that could be integrated with other, more traditional undergraduate engineering majors that also deal with the subsurface.

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Jon Gluyas
Professor of Petroleum Geoscience
University of Durham

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Amy Hardberger
Environmental Defense Fund (Texas Office) 

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Stuart Haszeldine
Professor of Geology
University of Edinburgh

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Ian Havercroft
Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Law
University College London

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Susan Hovorka
Senior Research Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology at UT Austin

Public acceptance is composed of two elements: First, technical information that shows that the benefits of geologic sequestration outweigh the risks, and second transmission of this information to decision makers (legislators, diverse energy industries, environmental NGOs, local communities). A series of field tests fill both needs, and several case studies will be discussed. Field tests provide monitoring data documenting the performance of the subsurface during and after CO2 injection; they also provide the venue for decision makers to observe how this process works.


Tara LaForce
Assistant Professor
Department of Earth Science & Engineering
Imperial College London

Large-scale CO2 injection into the subsurface is a key technology to lower CO2 emissions from point sources such as power plants. Deep saline aquifers have by far the largest capacity of potential storage space, however many are poorly characterized, which increases risk of leakage through undetected faults or gaps in the caprock. Gas and oil fields are much less extensive but are secure storage locations for CO2, as the presence of hydrocarbons proves their ability to contain buoyant fluids for geological timescales. Moreover, great deal is known about their size and ability to conduct fluids efficiently and the profits from enhanced oil recovery (EOR) as a result of CO2 flooding may offset the cost of storage. In this work, we propose using combined CO2 and water injection to engineer a more secure storage strategy in both aquifers and oilfields. Injection of water and CO2 increases the volume of the reservoir that comes in contact with CO2, allowing for substantially increased capillary trapping of the supercritical-CO2 phase during the injection phase of the project, and decreasing the reliance on an impermeable caprock to contain buoyant CO2. Counter-intuitively, injection of mixed water and CO2 has the further benefit of increasing the oil recovery and volume of CO2 that can be stored in a combined CO2/EOR project because of minimized gas cycling. Finally, we will look at the incremental oil recovery that results from CO2 flooding and discuss the implications of increased CO2 emissions as a result of the EOR process.

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Tip Meckel
Research Associate
Bureau of Economic Geology at UT Austin

Prior to commercialization and widespread deployment of CCS, geologic storage concepts need to be well understood. The Bureau of Economic Geology has designed and conducted multiple field injection tests and studies to address relevant questions regarding reservoir, seal, and well performance. Summaries of these field tests will be provided, with an emphasis on those aspects that pertain to the evolving regulatory environment.

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Rebecca C. Smyth
Project Manager
Gulf Coast Carbon Center, Bureau of Economic Geology, UT-Austin

A primary objective of carbon capture and storage (CCS) environmental regulations will be to protect drinking water resources. Results from a field study of groundwater quality over the SACROC oilfield in Scurry County, TX, U.S.A. are notable and have bearing because we see no evidence of impact to shallow (50-500 ft) drinking water as a result of 35+ years of CO2 injection for EOR at depths of 6-7,000 ft. Over 75 measurements of water levels in abandoned, domestic, stock, industrial, and irrigation well types help define potentiometric surface and water table elevations and flow directions of several hydraulically isolated water-bearing zones. We sampled 60 wells from all five types for water quality during four trips over two years for a total of 114 samples. Water chemistry from freshwater wells over SACROC lies within regional variability defined over a 250 mi2 area. Analyte concentrations do not change significantly along groundwater flow paths radiating out from SACROC. Ranges of data for 25 analytes evaluated in historical and recent water chemistry from data collected over SACROC and regionally did not change after beginning of CO2 injection in 1972. A comparison of water quality samples to EPA drinking water standards shows a greater number of exceedences falling outside of SACROC (# wells) compared to inside of SACROC (# wells). Indications are that if conduit flow has allowed CO2 to infiltrate drinking water resources overlying SACROC, there have been no obvious or wide-spread impacts to water quality. This also implies that the oilfield operator is doing a good job of maintaining deep production/injection zone well integrity and containing injectate CO2 at SACROC.

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Mike Stephenson
Head of Science (Energy)
British Geological Survey

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UK-Texas CCS Seminar
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