Abstract

The Mid-Atlantic U.S. Coastal Plain (New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and northern Virginia) contains thick (> 500 m) mid-Cretaceous sand–sandstone reservoirs confined by thick clay–shale confining units and thus has high potential for storage of CO2 captured from nearby point sources. The predictability of the continuity of the reservoir and confining units can be improved by applying principles of sequence stratigraphy, including integration of lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, paleoenvironmental proxies, and a novel application of fluvial aggradation cycles (FACs). We evaluate the storage and confinement potential for the Lower Cretaceous Waste Gate Formation and mid-Cretaceous Potomac Formation/Group in New Jersey and Maryland, which we divide into three major reservoirs (Waste Gate-Potomac Unit I, Potomac Unit II, and Potomac Unit III). We use new core data to ground-truth well-logs and paleoenvironmental changes, sequence stratigraphic stacking patterns (including FACs), and pollen biostratigraphy to update previous well-log correlations in New Jersey and extend these correlations into deep holes in Maryland. While individual sand beds are typically local in extent, zones of sands are broadly correlative over distances of 60 km. These regionally traceable sand-prone zones should be useful for carbon storage. Cenomanian Potomac Unit III sands are relatively thick (∼ 70 m) in New Jersey, but generally thin (average of ∼ 50 m) into Maryland; they are near the updip limit for supercritical storage (800 m) in New Jersey and Maryland and may not be suitable due to updip migration above the supercritical level. Potomac Unit II sands (Albian Pollen Zone II) appear to be discontinuous and less suitable in both states. Potomac Unit I (Aptian Pollen Zone I) and Waste Gate Formation sands (?early Aptian to Berriasian pre-Pollen Zone I) are relatively thick (∼ 88–223 m and ∼ 81–288 m, respectively) and confined in New Jersey and appear to be widespread and continuous; the updip confinement of this reservoir in Maryland is less certain. Volume storage estimates for the Potomac I-Waste Gate in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain are 8.4–33.5 Gt CO2, adequate to store CO2 captured from 24–95 GW of natural gas generation for a century.

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