Physical and chemical characteristics of potential seal strata in regions considered for demonstrating geological saline CO2 sequestration
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Capture and geological sequestration of CO2 from energy production is proposed to help mitigate climate change caused by anthropogenic emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Performance goals set by the US Department of Energy for CO2 storage permanence include retention of at least 99% of injected CO2 which requires detailed assessments of each potential storage site’s geologic system, including reservoir(s) and seal(s). The objective of this study was to review relevant basin-wide physical and chemical characteristics of geological seals considered for saline reservoir CO2 sequestration in the United States. Results showed that the seal strata can exhibit substantial heterogeneity in the composition, structural, and fluid transport characteristics on a basin scale. Analysis of available field and wellbore core data reveal several common inter-basin features of the seals, including the occurrence of quartz, dolomite, illite, calcite, and glauconite minerals along with structural features containing fractures, faults, and salt structures. In certain localities within the examined basins, some seal strata also serve as source rock for oil and gas production and can be subject to salt intrusions. The regional features identified in this study can help guide modeling, laboratory, and field studies needed to assess local seal performances within the examined basins.