Reservoir geology of the Utsira Formation at the first industrial-scale underground CO2 storage site (Sleipner area, North Sea)
Peter Zweigel, Rob Arts, Ane E. Lothe, Erik B. G. Lindeberg, 2004. "Reservoir geology of the Utsira Formation at the first industrial-scale underground CO2 storage site (Sleipner area, North Sea)", Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide, Shelagh J. Baines, Richard H. Worden
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At the Sleipner fields in the North Sea, CO2 is being injected into sands of the Miocene-Pliocene Utsira Formation, which is overlain by thick Pliocene shales. The highly porous (35%–40%) and extremely permeable (approximately 2 D) Utsira sands are organized into approximately 30 m thick packages. These packages are separated by thin (predominantly 1 m thick), low-permeability shale layers, which are assumed to contain potential fluid pathways of erosive or deformational origin. A 6.5 m thick shale layer close to the top of the sands separates an eastward thickening sand wedge from the main sand package below. Migration simulations indicate that the migration pattern of CO2 below the shale layer would differ strongly from that within the sand wedge above. Time-lapse seismic data acquired prior to the start, and after three years, of injection confirmed a reservoir model based on these findings and showed that the thin shale layers act as temporary barriers and that the 6.5 m thick shale layer does not fully inhibit upward migration of CO2.
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Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main compound identified as affecting the stability of the Earth’s climate. A significant reduction in the volume of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere is a key mechanism for mitigating climate change. Geological storage of CO2, or the injection and long-term stabilization of large volumes of CO2 in the subsurface in saline aquifers, in existing hydrocarbon reservoirs or in unmineable coal seams, is one of the more technologically advanced options available. A number of studies have been carried out and are reported here. They are aimed at understanding the safety, physical and chemical behaviour and long-term fate of CO2 when stored in geological formations. Until efficient, alternative energy options can be developed, geological storage of CO2, the subject of this volume, provides a mechanism to reduce carbon emissions significantly whilst continuing to meet the global demand for energy.