The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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September, 2009



GCCC

The Bureau of Economic Geology Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) is currently conducting a $34-million, multiyear field study of sequestration and monitoring strategies for long-term storage of carbon dioxide, having recently completed two 10,700-ft wells into the Lower Tuscaloosa Formation in Cranfield field, Mississippi. The first of its kind in smart-well construction, the project has allowed Bureau collaboration with four national labs, as well as the U.S. Geological Survey. Denbury Resources in Plano is hosting the project, which began in July 2008 andwill be part of a large 1,000,000-metric ton/year sequestration of CO2 for 1½ years. GCCC is monitoring the injection project to document that CO2 is effectively retained in the reservoir and plans to use these data to increase confidence and decrease costs of monitoring future geologic carbon sequestration projects. DOE NETL is funding the project, which is part of a Southeast Regional


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Carbon Sequestration (SECARB) partnership led by the Southern States Energy Board. Dr. Sue Hovorka, GCCC program PI, will be the first speaker of the Bureau's Fall Seminar Series on Friday, September 11. Her talk, "Big Science and Big Funding - BEG research addressing CO2 Injection and retention in the deep subsurface," will be at 8:30am in the Bureau's Main Conference Room. Dr. Sue Hovorka

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b Three BEG scientists were recently notified by the Department of Energy (DOE) that their proposed research projects will be funded, with grant totals potentially exceeding $4.3 million. Bob Hardage has
been selected by DOE to investigate “Improving the Monitoring, Verification, and Accounting of CO2 Sequestered in Geologic Systems with Multicomponent Seismic Technology and Rock Physics Modeling,” with a 3-year program scheduled to begin in November 2009. Ian Duncan, Associate Director for Earth and Environmental Systems, was selected by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratories for his proposed 4-year research program, “Developing Comprehensive Risk Assessment Frameworks for Geological Storage of CO2,” also scheduled to begin in November 2009. Steve Laubach’s proposal, “Predicting Fracture Porosity Evolution in Sandstone,” was selected by DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences group for funding—a 3-year program that will start in December 2009. Congratulations one and all!

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WTGS Bureau researchers turned out in force at the West Texas Geological Society (WTGS) Symposium in Midland, September 10-12. Talks were given by Julia Gale, Seay Nance, and Steve Ruppel, and posters were presented by Cari Breton and Walaa Ali - a student working with Julia Gale, Steve Ruppel, and Bob Loucks. Also speaking was ex-Bureau scientist Rebecca Jones. Presenters were received by the highest attendance ever recorded for a WTGS annual meeting.

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In CEE news, on September 28, Michelle Foss presented “Natural Gas Market, Technology Views” at a workshop for Congressional Staff in Washington, D.C., which was hosted by the Energy Policy Research Foundation, CEE, and the Brookings Institution. On the 22nd, she gave a
presentation at the Federal Climate Change Legislation Summit. Earlier in the summer, Dr. Foss was selected for the Committee on Earth Resources, National Academy of Sciences through 2011. CEE researchers Svetlana Ikonnikova, Dmitry Volkov, and Miranda Wainberg were chosen to write the 2009–2010 research paper for the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators on LNG Supply Contracts and Trade Patterns: an Analysis of Negotiation and Investment Strategies in the World LNG Market.


Bureau scientists Wayne Wright, Xavier Janson, and Ruarri-Day Stirrat were recently appointed as new editors of the SEPM Sedimentary Record for the next 3 years. Wayne said that they would be soliciting papers worldwide before long. Congratulations, guys!


Jerry Lucia On September 17, Jerry Lucia, retired Senior Research Scientist, presented his Centennial lecture titled “Locating Remaining Oil in Carbonate Reservoirs: The Reservoir Characterization Problem” to ConocoPhillips in

Houston. The lecture was attended by 60 geologists, geophysicist, and engineers and was followed by a lively question-and-answer period that covered topics from wireline logging to the usefulness of detailed reservoir models.




DOE Announces $4.8-Million-Dollar Grant to Bureau for Characterizing Texas Gulf Coast Offshore Reservoirs for Potential CO2 Sequestration


     The Bureau’s Gulf of Mexico Miocene CO2 Site Characterization Mega-Transect project, led by Bureau PIs Dr. Tip Meckel and Ramón Treviño, has been funded by a grant from DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. Storage opportunities in Miocene-aged formations for Texas Offshore State Lands will be explored. The project will also complete a detailed site assessment of promising reservoirs for CO2 storage of anthropogenic emissions. Bureau team members are partnering with UTIG, Los Alamos National Lab, UT-PGE, Sandia Technologies, and the Environmental Defense Fund in the venture.
     The project began in discussions between Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams and Bureau Director Scott Tinker and was championed by Texas House Representative Warren Chisum (and Senator Kirk Watson of Austin), who in the 2009 legislative session sponsored a bill initiating five studies that could lead to commercial sequestration projects. Subsequent discussions between GLO Commissioner Jerry Patterson and his staff and Bureau scientists Ian Duncan, Sue Hovorka, and Tip Meckel resulted in an agreement to pursue DOE funding as a component of fulfilling the vision outlined in the Chisum-Watson bill. A key element of success of the DOE proposal was GLO’s commitment of $1,200,000 as cost share for the project.
     Dr. Tinker informed Commissioner Patterson, Representative Chisum, Michael Williams and other stakeholders in the grant’s success noting: “This DOE award, combined with our recent State of Texas Repository grant from the GLO, establishes one of the largest and most important CO2 sequestration characterization efforts in the nation. Texas uses a tremendous amount of energy to produce industrial products for the nation and a result produces a lot of CO2. This offshore-characterization grant brings together State, Federal, industry, and university partners to study how and where large volumes of CO2 could potentially be stored, deep beneath the Earth’s surface. I am very proud of our carbon team and our university, industrial and government partners.” [Read the official JSG press release]


 
 
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