Abstract

Deep basalt formations within large igneous provinces have been proposed as target reservoirs for carbon capture and sequestration on the basis of favorable CO2-water-rock reaction kinetics that suggest carbonate mineralization rates on the order of 102–103 d. Although these results are encouraging, there exists much uncertainty surrounding the influence of fracture-controlled reservoir heterogeneity on commercial-scale CO2 injections in basalt formations. This work investigates the physical response of a low-volume basalt reservoir to commercial-scale CO2 injections using a Monte Carlo numerical modeling experiment such that model variability is solely a function of spatially distributed reservoir heterogeneity. Fifty equally probable reservoirs are simulated using properties inferred from the deep eastern Snake River Plain aquifer in southeast Idaho, and CO2 injections are modeled within each reservoir for 20 yr at a constant mass rate of 21.6 kg s–1. Results from this work suggest that (1) formation injectivity is generally favorable, although injection pressures in excess of the fracture gradient were observed in 4% of the simulations; (2) for an extensional stress regime (as exists within the eastern Snake River Plain), shear failure is theoretically possible for optimally oriented fractures if Sh ≤ 0.70SV; and (3) low-volume basalt reservoirs exhibit sufficient CO2 confinement potential over a 20 yr injection program to accommodate mineral trapping rates suggested in the literature.

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