GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 300-13
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


ERSHADNIA, Reza, Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, 500 Geology Physics Bldg., Department of Geology, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0013, HAJIREZAIE, Sassan, Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, GERSHENZON, Naum I., Illinois State Geological Survey - Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 615 E. Peabody Dr, Champaign, IL 61820; Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wright State University, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton, OH 45435, RITZI, Robert, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wright State Univeristy, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton, OH 45435 and SOLTANIAN, Reza, Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, 500 Geology Physics Bldg., Cincinnati, OH 45221-0013

Geological heterogeneity affects flow and transport in porous media, including the migration and trapping patterns of carbon dioxide (CO2) during both geological carbon sequestration (GCS) and CO2-enhanced oil recovery. Such effects are only understood fundamentally through their relation to a hierarchy of aquifer heterogeneities over a range of scales. Thermodynamic phase behavior adds further complexity to this problem. For example, in the context of GCS, CO2 is often injected into brine formations that may contain dissolved light hydrocarbons, such as methane (CH4). Thus, the CO2 sequestration problem easily becomes a multicomponent, multiphase displacement process in which CO2 competes with other components such as CH4 during dissolution. In this case, CH4 is not dissolved and instead exsolves from the aqueous phase into a gaseous phase. This has important implications for the risk assessment of GCS projects. We show how the CH4 and CO2 transport in brine formations is controlled by different scales of heterogeneity and the associated spatial distribution of sedimentary facies types, and the resulting connectivity of high-permeability pathways across different scales of the sedimentary architecture. We use a three-dimensional digital model that was developed based on field studies of the hierarchy of fluvial forms within channel-belts of gravelly braided rivers. We will show the effects of facies-related capillarity and hysteresis processes on CH4 and CO2 fate and transport.