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Brief overview of the Frio project in PDF format (10/27/04)

Frio Log

New outreach materials related to CO2 and CO2 storage have been posted here.

The objective of these materials is to provide the Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) research and outreach community

with easily transferable demonstrations designed to increase public understanding and acceptance of issues related to greenhouse gas and CSS processes. We approach these issues from an allegorical and experiential perspective, assuming the audience has minimal background in physics and chemistry. 09/13/05

Twenty papers summarizing Frio brine storage results were presented May 2–5, 2005, at the Fourth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration in Alexandria, Virginia.

Click here for a list of authors, titles, and online text and poweroint presentations. The papers represent the work of Bureau researchers and collaborators from four national labs, the U.S. Geological Survey, Schlumberger, Alberta Research Council, and the Australian CO2 CRC. Researchers focused on the significance of results to global implementation of CO2 storage, discussed lessons learned, and provided recommendations for follow-on steps for those preparing to embark on field tests as part of the DOE partnerships.

Bureau Research Scientist Susan Hovorka was invited to present Frio Brine Pilot Project results at the 1st Indo-US Workshop on Carbon Sequestration, which was held June 2–3 in Hyderabad, India.

The meeting was hosted jointly by the National Geophysical Institustite (Hyderabad) and Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Sue is shown here sightseeing with Pete McGrail and Prasad Saripalli, PNNL.

Bureau researchers and collaborators from four national labs, the U.S. Geological Survey, Schlumberger, Alberta Research Council, and the Australian CO2 CRC together presented 20 papers May 2–5 at the Fourth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration in Alexandria, Virginia. The presentations included the latest results of the Frio brine storage study. Researchers focused on the significance of results to global implementation of CO2 storage, discussed lessons learned, and provided recommendations for follow-on steps for those preparing to embark on field tests as part of the DOE partnerships. Click here for a list of authors and presentations. 04/25/05

On April 5, using the Kuster sampler, Yousif Kharaka (USGS) and David Freeman (Sandia Technologies) prepare to collect a postinjection surface sample of Frio brines before collecting downhole fluid and gas samples. The “C” sand injection interval in the injection well was sampled to examine postinjection geochemical changes, particularly organics.


The “B” sand, the sand just above the injection interval, was perforated in the observation well to find any evidence of leakage of CO2 and tracers over this short distance. 04/12/05

Since CO2 injection was completed in early October, monitoring of shallow-aquifer hydrochemistry and composition of wellhead space and soil gases has continued so that potential leaks of injected gases from the Frio Formation test interval can be detected.

Although groundwater pH, electrical conduct-ance, and alkalinity have varied during the postinjection monitoring period, no definitive indicators of leakage have been identified. 01/05/05

Grant Bromal (NETL, Morgantown) uses a hypodermic syringe to sample a soil-gas well in the woods near the Frio Test Site pad.


Seay Nance (BEG) purges a shallow (95-ft) water well before sampling groundwater from the Beaumont Formation aquifer. Researchers look for hydrochemical changes as indicators of potential leaks of CO2 from the Frio injection interval. 01/05/05


Participants in the geologic working group of the Regional Carbon Sequestation Partnership program visited the Frio site October 21, 2004. 12/20/04
Photos by Gary Siegel, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)

Since injection ended, the Frio project has hosted about 50 researchers and other visitors wanting to acquire first-hand information about scientific monitoring
of a CO2 storage experiment. Visitors include a researcher from CSIRO working on the Australian CO2 Cooperative Research Centre, two groups from Japanese industry and


academe, and 30 researchers from NETL’s Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnerships, who represented different parts of the U.S. In this photo, a photographer from the Houston Chronicle documents visitors’ examination of the observation wellhead. 10/27/04


CO2 has been injected and the downhole behavior of the plume measured through observation of downhole temperature and pressure. CO2 was observed in the

observation well 100 feet away from the injection well about 51 hours after the beginning of injection. Success!

CO2 trucks off-loading liquid CO2 release some gas-phase CO2 It is dense and cool and creates fog on the ground.


Downhole fluid sampling at aquifer pressure and temperature was done with the U-tube. At breakthrough, fluids became (1) very bubbly because of dissolved and/or free-phase gas and (2) visibly dark with dissolved metals.

Seay Nance (BEG) and Yousif Kharaka (USGS) did sampling at a downhole sampler designed and operated by Barry Freifeld and Rob Trautz (LBNL).

Barry Freifeld and Paul Cook from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) are feeding the “U-tube” sampling device into the observation well. 10,000 feet of stainless steel tubing makes a "U" allowing researchers at the surface to extract fluids from 4,970.5 feet below. The


experiment will take place at this depth where, the well is open to brine-bearing sandstone.


The portable lab being installed was developed by the LBNL for this project and contains analytical equipment, including a mass spectrometer. This equipment allows chemical changes to be measured in real time. Subtle changes as

CO2 moves toward the observation well will also be monitored.

Schlumberger technicians insert a submersible pump into one of the two deep wells at the Frio CO2 injection test site. They are preparing for a tracer test of the deep aquifer system conducted by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories (LBL). The orange and chrome feature is the brine intake. The pump motor is in the blue unit at the base of the intake.


The blue column overlying the intake protects the hot pump motor from being flooded by cool water in the event of pump failure. The complete assembly is 40 ft long.


Rob Trautz of LBL prepares a solution of fluorescein and Frio brine for injection into the Frio injection well. Produced brines at the pumping well are monitored for as long as

2 weeks for “breakthrough” of the tracer. Time to breakthrough is a function of aquifer hydraulic properties that will also control flow behavior of injected CO2.

Rod Diehl (left) and Art Wells (right) of DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory use a vacuum pump to check seal integrity on a soil-gas monitoring system.



Art Wells (left), Dennis Stanko (center), and Rod Diehl (right) of DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory install a soil-gas monitoring system 1 meter into the soil at the Dayton Frio CO2 Injection Site. A Capillary Absorption Tube (CAT) is suspended within the aluminum

tube to detect PFC tracers that are added to the injected CO2. The system is one of several designed to detect at the surface potential leaks from the injection interval in the Frio Formation at 5,100 ft.

Core from the BEG Frio Brine Pilot injection well at the injection interval shows steep bedding as a result of local dip of 16° and cross-laminated fluvial sandstone. The bluish colors are typical of the rock and result from contact with brines that are near-saturation with dissolved methane. Red stain is the result of invasion of the core by drilling mud that has been tagged with Rhodamine WT. Invasion shows the distribution of high permeability that will be quantified in the laboratory in the next few weeks


Model of Geometry of Injected CO2 Shown

The numerical model pictured, prepared by Christine Doughty of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, shows the expected geometry of injected CO2 (in bright colors) within the Frio “C” sand. What is depicted is near the end of the injection period, when the CO2 has reached the observation well under one possible experimental condition. Shale layers are expected to limit any out-of-zone leakage, an effect that can be observed in the middle of the model. BEG researcher Seay Nance has supervised installation of 100-ft-deep “sentinel” wells near the injection well. These wells will detect any unexpected out-of-zone leakage of CO2 if it should reach fresh water—a part of the program that assesses risk of any environmental impacts. Additional monitoring will be done at depth and at land surface to document presence or absence of leakage.

International interest in the Frio Brine experiment is mounting. In addition to hosting visitors representing the Japanese Geologic Carbon Storage Research Program, RITE, Susan Hovorka was interviewed about the Frio pilot by a French energy news agency, Enterpress via e-mail and by BBC, World Business Report Radio by phone.


The image of Earth at night shows the distribution of lights. A proxy for global energy use, the image puts the issue into global perspective.

Drilling of Test Well Completed

Drilling of the test well at the Frio Brine Pilot site has been completed, reaching a total depth of 5,753 feet. Study by BEG and USGS team members of wireline logs, rocks, and fluids recovered from the well is under way and confirms the presence of high-permeability, poorly consolidated, brine-saturated sandstones at the intended injection depth of about 5,050 feet. The graphic compares wireline logs of the newly drilled injection well with a log from the observation well 100 feet away. Click here for PowerPoint image.

Satoshi Suziki and Yuki Umagaki


Japanese Visit Field Experiment for CO2 Sequestration

Satoshi Suzuki and Yuki Umagaki, representatives of RITE, an institute conducting research and development of geologic sequestration technology for carbon dioxide in Japan, visited

the experiment site to facilitate exchange of information regarding the international issue of options to reduce atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide. The Frio Brine Pilot test well has already been drilled to a depth of 4,900 feet. This well will provide access to high-permeability sandstones of the Frio Formation to test modeling and monitoring strategies for injection of CO2.


Jay Kipper, Sue Hovorka, and Scott Tinker pay a visit to the Gulf Coast Carbon Center’s Frio Brine Site (click here for project description) to monitor the progress of a 5,100-ft well. So far, 2,600 ft has been drilled, and the remainder is due to be completed next week. A large volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be injected into the subsurface and the well


(from left) Jay Kipper, Sue Hovorka,
and Scott Tinker

closely monitored to calculate rates of leakage.

This experiment is being conducted to explore solutions to atmospheric emissions of CO2. The project is gaining national exposure, and the site expects many more visitors before the end of the year.



Sandia Technologies, field service provider to the Gulf Coast Carbon Center’s Frio Brine Pilot Experiment (click here for project

description), recently completed a workover on the monitoring well owned by Texas American Resources. This experiment involves injecting a small volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) into a well-known volume of the subsurface of South Liberty oil field and then closely monitoring the well to calculate rates of leakage. Remediation of existing wells is one of the key unknowns in the plan to reduce atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide by reinjecting the CO2 into oil reservoirs in decline in order to enhance production.

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