Putting It Down Under—Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide from an Australian Perspective

Dr. Jonathan Ennis-King
Research Scientist
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

A leading option for the reduction of atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide from a point source is underground injection. Regional survey work in Australia has found that there is an enormous potential capacity for underground storage, although the locations of suitable storage sites are not well matched to the locations of potential sources.

As part of the Australian Petroleum Cooperative Research Center's GEODISC program, four potential storage sites were selected, covering the Petrel sub-Basin (NW Australia), Gippsland Basin (SE Australia), the Carnarvon Basin (NW Australia) and the Dongara field in the North Perth Basin (W Australia). The first three sites are deep saline formations offshore, whereas the fourth one is a depleted gas field onshore. Geological characterisation, geochemical and geomechanical analysis, reservoir simulation, economic evaluation and risk assessment were carried out for each site.

Reservoir simulation results for these sites are discussed and compared, and generic lessons for underground storage are summarized. In particular, the role of convective mixing in the long-term dissolution of carbon dioxide in deep saline formations is analysed.

Jonathan Ennis-King is a Research Scientist with CSIRO, Australia's national research organization, specializing in the modeling and simulation of underground storage of carbon dioxide, and working in the GEODISC research project of the Australian Petroleum Cooperative Research Center (APCRC). Within the GEODISC project, he has been responsible for four long-term site-specific simulation studies, and his research focus has been on the mechanisms for the slow migration and dissolution of carbon dioxide underground, especially convective mixing.

He has a BSc (Hons) from the University of Melbourne (1988), and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the Australian National University (1993). He has held postdoctoral positions in theoretical colloid chemistry, polymer chemistry and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics at the University of Melbourne, Lund University (Sweden) and the Australian National University. He joined CSIRO's Petroleum Resources Division in 1999 to work on the GEODISC project.