Protection of Caprock Integrity for Large-Scale CO2 Storage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf
15 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2019 Last revised: 27 Oct 2020
Large-scale CO2 storage requires advanced understanding of the geomechanical response of the caprock subject to pressure build- up in the reservoir. CO2 injection into basin systems will need to approach rates of 100 Mt/y in order to achieve significant reduction in worldwide emissions and realize the large capacity of saline aquifers. High pressure build-up is expected, which may activate existing fractures and faults in the seal and create leakage pathways for the CO2 plume. New fractures may also evolve at higher pressures. To avoid creating leakage pathways for the CO2 plume, the pressure must be kept under an upper bound that is determined by the caprock weakest point or initial stress. To date, there has been great uncertainty in critical knowledge needed for planning and execution of safe large-scale CO2 storage projects. Within the PROTECT project, we advance methods and reduce uncertainty regarding the mechanical response. The research study focuses on three subareas: data collection, experimental studies and computational tasks. The studies are performed at small scale (scale of individual cracks, cm to m) and at large scale (reservoir or basin scale, 10 m to km). Data are synthesized, and a benchmark study of large-scale geomechanical simulation is performed. The Utsira Formation on the Norwegian continental shelf has been used as a common case study for integration and benchmarking activities. Finally, recommendations are made for future research based on knowledge gained in this study.
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