Geomechanical effects of CO2 storage in depleted gas reservoirs in the Netherlands: Inferences from feasibility studies and comparison with aquifer storage
In this paper, the geomechanical impact of large-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in depleted Dutch gas fields is compared with the impact of CO2 storage in saline aquifers. The geomechanical behaviour of four potential CO2 storage sites is examined using flow and geomechanical simulations. Many gas reservoirs in the Netherlands are found in fault blocks, one to a few kilometres wide, laterally bounded by sealing faults. Aquifer depletion or re-pressurization in the lateral direction is seldom an issue because of a lack of active aquifers. Reservoir pressure changes are therefore limited to a gas-bearing fault block, while the induced stress changes affect the gas reservoir and extend 1e3 km away into the surrounding rock. Arguments in favour of CO2 storage in depleted gas fields are: proven seal quality, availability of field data, no record of seal integrity failure by fault reactivation from the seismically active producing Dutch gas fields, and the potential benefits of restoring the virgin formation pressure and stress state to geomechanical stability. On the other hand, CO2 injection in saline aquifers causes pressure build-up that exceeds the virgin hydrostatic pressure. Stress perturbations resulting from pressure build-up affect large areas, extending tens of kilometres away from the injection wells. Induced stresses in top seals are, however, small and do not exceed a few tenths of megapascal for a pressure build-up of a few megapascals in the storage formation. Geomechanical effects on top seals are weak, but could be enhanced close to the injection zone by the thermal effects of injection. Uncertainties related to characterisation of large areas affected by pressure build-up are significant, and seal quality and continuity are more difficult to be demonstrated for aquifers than for depleted gas reservoirs that have held hydrocarbons for millions of years.
To reference this document use:
AG - Applied Geosciences
ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences
Carbon dioxide (CO2) injection
Geomechanics of CO2 storage
Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, 8, 846-859