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CO 2 Storage in Saline Aquifers. Mac Burton Representing Dr. Steven L. Bryant And Geological CO2 Storage Research Program. Stabilizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions is a World-Scale Task. INDUSTRY 29%. TRANSPORT 33%. ELECTRICITY 38%.

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CO 2 Storage in Saline Aquifers

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CO2 Storage in Saline Aquifers

Mac Burton

Representing Dr. Steven L. Bryant


Geological CO2 Storage Research Program

Stabilizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions is a World-Scale Task




Meaningful Mitigation of GHG Emissions will Require Geologic Sequestration(plus several other technologies simultaneously)

Each option would remove 1 Gt carbon/year

Meaningful Geologic Sequestration will Require a New Industry Comparable in Size to Current Oil & Gas Industry

Global gas production in 2006

277 BCFD

Global oil production in 2006

81.7 MMBD

General Overview of Geologic Storage in Deep Saline Aquifer

  • Storage Mechanisms and General Plume Prediction

    • Dissolution and Capillary Trapping

    • Structural Trapping and Mineral

    • Time to Reach Seal and Lateral Extent

  • Injection Strategies

    • Well Design

    • Reservoir Characterization

  • Leakage from Natural and Man-Made Features

    • Leaking Faults

    • Leaking Top Seal

    • Leaking Wells

Standard Evaluation Techniques

Standard Evaluation Techniques

Requires New Evaluation Techniques and Science

Leakage of CO2 can pose a risk to:

Underground Assets

Health Safety & Environment

Atmosphere (Emission Credits)

Why is Our Work in the Subsurface Important?

Wells and faults are primary potential leakage pathways

Two Examples of Importance of Our Work

Example #1: Active Well Leak and Abandon

Number of Wells in Gulf of Mexico with SCP

600 400 200 0

Hundreds of Wells are Abandon in the Gulf of Mexico each Year;

Wells in the Gulf are Few in Number Compared to On-shore

5% to 30% of Active Wells per Field in Gulf of Mexico have Leaks that Run to the Surface

Bourgoyne et al,

MMS report

0 10 20 30 40 50

% of Wells with SCP

Nicot et al, 2006

Example #2: Injection Design

Pressure profile in aquifer


Pressure profile in well


Surface Dissolution: Implementation Costs and Technical Challenges

Mac Burton

Steven Bryant

Key Findings

  • Surface dissolution technology increases the available target aquifer space. Where?

    • Shallower aquifers

    • Aquifers with poor seal quality

  • Operational and capital costs for surface dissolution are larger but comparable in magnitude to those for standard approach.

  • Surface dissolution may be attractive where the costs of insuring against buoyancy-driven CO2 leakage exceed these additional costs.

  • Adds reasonable technology or options to our arsenal.

Motivations for Alternate CO2 Storage Strategies in Saline Aquifers

  • Cheap Solution

  • Simple Solution

  • Safe Solution

    We choose to look at a strategy that will:

  • Lower Risk Option

  • Address Technical Subsurface Challenges

  • Adds to Current Technology or Expanding our Options

Standard Approach to Sequestration-Retrofitting Coal-Fired Power Plant


Costs for Standard Approach toAquifer Sequestration

Sources: Dr. Rochelle’s presentation to Dr. Bryant research review,

and Remediation of Leakage from CO2 Storage Reservoirs, IEA GHG Programme

Standard Approach to Saline Aquifer:Technical Challenges

  • Buoyant Migration

    • Monitoring for Hundreds of Years

    • Interaction with Faults, Seals, and Existing Wells

    • Liability for Storage: Cost and Probability of

      • Remediation

      • Lost Emission Credit

      • Damage to Subsurface Assets

  • Injectivity

    • Reaching Pressure Limit In Closed Aquifer

    • Relative Permeability and Capillary Pressure

Surface Dissolution Approach to Sequestration-Retrofitting Coal-Fired Power Plant


Solubility of CO2 in Brine:

  • with temperature

  • with pressure

  • with salinity

Modeling Surface Dissolution: Overview

  • Solubility of CO2 in Brine (Aquifer & Surface)

  • Amount of Brine Needed

  • Operational and Capital Costs



Modeling Surface Dissolution: Solubility in Brine in the Aquifer

Increasing salinity

Solubility CO2 (mole %)

Aquifer Depth (ft)

Modeling Surface Dissolution: Brine Rate Comparable to Other Plant Usage

Operational Costs

CO2 Compression

Polytropic Compression


4 stages

Brine compression


80% efficient

Capital Costs

Injection and Extraction wells

$750,000 per well


CO2 Compressors and Brine Pumps

$900,000 per MW consumed for pumping

Pressure Mixing Vessel

~$25,000 per MW of power plant

Operational and Capital Costs for Surface Dissolution

Costs for Surface Dissolution Approach

Surface Dissolution in Saline Aquifer:Technical Challenges

  • Surface Challenges

    • Strong Temperature Dependence (Shallow is Better)

    • Strong Salinity Dependence (Shallow is Better)

    • WellCosts Influential (Shallow is Better)

    • DissolvingCO2 in short time (less than few minutes)

    • Carbonicacid might cause corrosion

  • Subsurface Challenges

    • Large Areal Target and Large Injection Volume

      • Can we get the brine in and out?

      • What if the CO2 -dense brine shows up at the extraction wells?

Cost Comparison of Approaches

5-8% More OPEX

Double CAPEX

Cost Comparison of Approaches

$20-$35 added / tonne


Safety Sells

No Buoyant Migration

Interaction with Seal, Faults, Wells

Increases Aquifer Availability

Conclusion—Motivation Evaluation


  • Cheap Solution

  • Simple Solution

  • Safe Solution

  • Con’s

    • Added Costs

    • Additional Fluid Handling

    • Added Facilities (Compressors, Wells, etc.)

    • Requires More Aquifer Space

    • Technical Challenges (Carbonic Acid, Predicting Temperature, Predicting Reservoir, etc.)

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