The successful implementation of geologic carbon sequestration depends on the careful evaluation of the petrophysical characteristics of the storage reservoir. Two petrophysical properties, porosity and permeability, constrain the reservoir in terms of its storage potential and injectivity. These two key parameters may vary significantly in scale within a reservoir. Likewise, the analytical tools that are useful for measuring these properties also vary and only assess pores of a given scale.
In this investigation, 52 rock samples that consist of carbonates having a high degree of dolomitization were obtained from the Cambrian–Ordovician Knox Supergroup from different depth intervals; these samples span a significant area of the Midwestern United States. The samples were analyzed for total porosity and pore-size distribution using a variety of techniques, including petrographic image analysis, helium porosimetry, gas adsorption, mercury porosimetry, and ultrasmall-angle/small-angle neutron scattering. Capillary entrapment, or “residual saturation,” is that part of the injected CO2 that remains trapped in micropores after the pressure elevated by the injection process returns to ambient reservoir pressure. Results from low-pressure nitrogen and carbon dioxide adsorption and from mercury injection capillary pressure are important in that they provide insights about small pore size that otherwise cannot be resolved by standard helium porosimetry or by image analysis software. Results from these analyses suggest that micro- and mesoporosity control capillary entrapment, whereas macroporosity controls permeability.