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Analysis of CO2 leakage through ‘low-permeability’ faults from natural reservoirs in the Colorado Plateau, east-central Utah

By
Z. K. Shipton
Z. K. Shipton
Division of Earth Sciences, Centre for Geosciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UKz.shipton@earthsci.gla.ac.uk
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J. P. Evans
J. P. Evans
Department of Geology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
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D. Kirschner
D. Kirschner
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO 63103, USA
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P. T. Kolesar
P. T. Kolesar
Department of Geology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
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A. P. Williams
A. P. Williams
Department of Geology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
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J. Heath
J. Heath
Department of Geology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2004

Abstract

The numerous CO2 reservoirs in the Colorado Plateau region of the United States are natural analogues for potential geological CO2 sequestration repositories. To understand better the risk of leakage from reservoirs used for long-term underground CO2 storage, we examine evidence for CO2 migration along two normal faults that cut a reservoir in east-central Utah. CO2-charged springs, geysers, and a hydrocarbon seep are localized along these faults. These include natural springs that have been active for long periods of time, and springs that were induced by recent drilling. The CO2-charged spring waters have deposited travertine mounds and carbonate veins. The faults cut siltstones, shales, and sandstones and the fault rocks are fine-grained, clay-rich gouge, generally thought to be barriers to fluid flow. The geological and geochemical data are consistent with these faults being conduits for CO2 moving to the surface. Consequently, the injection of CO2 into faulted geological reservoirs, including faults with clay gouge, must be carefully designed and monitored to avoid slow seepage or fast rupture to the biosphere.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide

Shelagh J. Baines
Shelagh J. Baines
BP Exploration and Production Company, Sunbury, UK
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Richard H. Worden
Richard H. Worden
Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
233
ISBN electronic:
9781862394810
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

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