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Modeling of CO2 Leakage up Through an Abandoned Well from Deep Saline Aquifer to Shallow Fresh Groundwaters

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This article presents a numerical modeling application using the code TOUGHREACT of a leakage scenario occurring during a CO2 geological storage performed in the Jurassic Dogger formation in the Paris Basin. This geological formation has been intensively used for geothermal purposes and is now under consideration as a site for the French national program of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 geological storage. Albian sandstone, situated above the Dogger limestone is a major strategic potable water aquifer; the impacts of leaking CO2 due to potential integrity failure have, therefore, to be investigated. The present case–study illustrates both the capacity and the limitations of numerical tools to address such a critical issue. The physical and chemical processes simulated in this study have been restricted to: (i) supercritical CO2 injection and storage within the Dogger reservoir aquifer, (ii) CO2 upwards migration through the leakage zone represented as a 1D vertical porous medium to simulate the cement–rock formation interface in the abandoned well, and (iii) impacts on the Albian aquifer water quality in terms of chemical composition and the mineral phases representative of the porous rock by estimating fluid–rock interactions in both aquifers. Because of CPU time and memory constraints, approximation and simplification regarding the geometry of the geological structure, the mineralogical assemblages and the injection period (up to 5 years) have been applied to the system, resulting in limited analysis of the estimated impacts. The CO2 migration rate and the quantity of CO2 arriving as free gas and dissolving, firstly in the storage water and secondly in the water of the overlying aquifer, are calculated. CO2 dissolution into the Dogger aquifer induces a pH drop from about 7.3 to 4.9 limited by calcite dissolution buffering. Glauconite present in the Albian aquifer also dissolves, causing an increase of the silicon and aluminum in solution and triggering the precipitation of kaolinite and quartz around the intrusion point. A sensitivity analysis of the leakage rate according to the location of the leaky well and the variability of the petro-physical properties of the reservoir, the leaky well zone and the Albian aquifers is also provided.

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Correspondence to Pauline Humez.

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Humez, P., Audigane, P., Lions, J. et al. Modeling of CO2 Leakage up Through an Abandoned Well from Deep Saline Aquifer to Shallow Fresh Groundwaters. Transp Porous Med 90, 153 (2011).

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  • CO2 geological storage
  • Well leakage
  • Reactive transport modeling
  • Water quality