Environmental Earth Sciences

, 75:1271 | Cite as

Identification of above-zone pressure perturbations caused by leakage from those induced by deformation

  • Mehdi Zeidouni
  • Victor Vilarrasa
Original Article


Pressure changes in the above zone, i.e., the overlying aquifer of an injection zone separated by a sealing caprock, are usually attributed to leakage through wells. However, pressure changes can be induced geomechanically due to rock deformation without any hydraulic connection between the injection zone and the above zone where the pressure change is observed. To account for these two causes of pressure change in the above zone, we develop an analytical solution to evaluate the deformation-induced pressure changes and we derive an asymptotic analytical solution for pressure perturbations caused by leaking wells. The analytical models compare well with available numerical/analytical solutions. Using the analytical solutions for the deformation- and leakage-induced pressure changes, we propose a graphical diagnostic plot to determine the cause of pressure change. Considering that the pressure change is caused by leakage, we then use the asymptotic solution to develop an easy-to-use fully graphical methodology to characterize leaking wells. This methodology improves a previous analysis methodology that was based on an inverse modeling algorithm that can be highly instable and computationally expensive. Based on the graphical method presented here, the slopes and intercepts of the proposed line-fitted graphs are used to determine the leak location and transmissibility. We apply the graphical method to an example problem to illustrate its application procedure and effectiveness in differentiating deformation-induced pressure changes from leaking wells. Overall, the diagnostic plot proposed here proves to be useful to determine the cause of the above-zone pressure change.


Fluid injection Leakage Geomechanics Diagnostic plot Analytical solutions 


  1. Abramowitz M, Stegun IA (1970) Handbook of mathematical functions. Dover, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Avci CB (1994) Evaluation of flow leakage through abandoned wells and boreholes. Water Resour Res 30:2565–2578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bear J (1972) Dynamics of Fluids in Porous Media. Elsevier, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Birkholzer JT, Zhou Q, Tsang C-F (2009) Large-scale impact of CO2 storage in deep saline aquifers: a sensitivity study on pressure response in stratified systems. Int J Greenh Gas Control 3:181–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourdet D (2002) Well test analysis: the use of advanced interpretation models. Elsevier Science, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  6. Carslaw HS, Jaeger JC (1959) Conduction of heat in solids, 2nd edn. Oxford Univ. Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Chabora ER, Benson SM (2009) Brine displacement and leakage detection using pressure measurements in aquifers overlying CO2 storage reservoirs. Energy Procedia 1:2405–2412. doi: 10.1016/j.egypro.2009.01.313 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chang KW, Hesse MA, Nicot J-P (2013) Reduction of lateral pressure propagation due to dissipation into ambient mudrocks during geological carbon dioxide storage. Water Resour Res. doi: 10.1002/wrcr.20197 Google Scholar
  9. Cihan A, Zhou Q, Birkholzer JT (2011) Analytical solutions for pressure perturbation and fluid leakage through aquitards and wells in multilayered-aquifer systems. Water Resour Res 47:W10504. doi: 10.1029/2011wr010721 Google Scholar
  10. Cooper H, Jacob C (1946) A generalized graphical method for evaluating formation constants and summarizing well field history. Am Geophys Union Trans 27:526–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gasda SE, Bachu S, Celia MA (2004) Spatial characterization of the location of potentially leaky wells penetrating a deep saline aquifer in a mature sedimentary basin. Environ Geol 46:707–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hsieh PA (1996) Deformation-induced changes in hydraulic head during ground-water withdrawal. Ground Water 34:1082–1089. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1996.tb02174.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jaeger JC (1943) Heat flow in the region bounded internally by a circular cylinder. Proc R Soc Edinburgh 61:223–229Google Scholar
  14. Javandel I, Tsang CF, Witherspoon PA, Morganwalp D (1988) Hydrologic detection of abandoned wells near proposed injection wells for hazardous waste disposal. Water Resour Res 24:261–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jung YJ, Zhou QL, Birkholzer JT (2013) Early detection of brine and CO2 leakage through abandoned wells using pressure and surface-deformation monitoring data: concept and demonstration. Adv Water Resour 62:555–569. doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2013.06.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kang M, Nordbotten JM, Doster F, Celia MA (2014) Analytical solutions for two- phase subsurface flow to a leaky fault considering vertical flow effects and fault properties. Water Resour Res 50:3536–3552. doi: 10.1002/2013wr014628 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kim JM, Parizek RR (1997) Numerical simulation of the Noordbergum effect resulting from groundwater pumping in a layered aquifer system. J Hydrol 202:231–243. doi: 10.1016/S0022-1694(97)00067-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mathias SA, Hardisty PE, Trudell MR, Zimmerman RW (2009) Approximate solutions for pressure buildup during CO2 injection in brine aquifers. Transp Porous Media 79:265–284. doi: 10.1007/s11242-008-9316-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mathias SA, de Miguel GJGM, Thatcher KE, Zimmerman RW (2011) Pressure buildup during CO2 injection into a closed brine aquifer. Transp Porous Media 89:383–397. doi: 10.1007/s11242-011-9776-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meckel TA, Zeidouni M, Hovorka SD, Hosseini SA (2013) Assessing sensitivity to well leakage from three years of continuous reservoir pressure monitoring during CO2 injection at Cranfield, MS, USA. Int J Greenh Gas Control 18:439–448. doi: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2013.01.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nicot JP (2009) A survey of oil and gas wells in the Texas Gulf Coast, USA, and implications for geological sequestration of CO2. Environ Geol 57:1625–1638. doi: 10.1007/s00254-008-1444-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nordbotten JM, Celia MA, Bachu S (2004) Analytical solutions for leakage rates through abandoned wells. Water Resour Res 40Google Scholar
  23. Nordbotten JM, Celia MA, Bachu S, Dahle HK (2005) Semianalytical solution for CO2 leakage through an abandoned well. Environ Sci Technol 39:602–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Okada Y (1992) Internal deformation due to shear and tensile faults in a half-space. B Seismol Soc Am 82:1018–1040Google Scholar
  25. Olivella S, Carrera J, Gens A, Alonso EE (1994) Nonisothermal multiphase flow of brine and gas through saline media. Transp Porous Media 15:271–293. doi: 10.1007/BF00613282 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Olivella S, Gens A, Carrera J, Alonso EE (1996) Numerical formulation for a simulator (CODE_BRIGHT) for the coupled analysis of saline media. Eng Comput 13:87–112. doi: 10.1108/02644409610151575 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pruess K (2011) Integrated modeling of CO2 storage and leakage scenarios including transitions between super- and subcritical conditions, and phase change between liquid and gaseous CO2. Greenh Gases Sci Technol 1:237–247. doi: 10.1002/ghg.24 Google Scholar
  28. Ritchie RH, Sakakura AY (1956) Asymptotic expansions of solutions of the heat conduction equation in internally bounded cylindrical geometry. Appl Phys 27:1453–1459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rodrigues JD (1983) The Noordbergum effect and characterization of aquitards at the Rio-Maior mining project. Ground Water 21:200–207. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1983.tb00714.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rutqvist J, Vasco DW, Myer L (2010) Coupled reservoir-geomechanical analysis of CO2 injection and ground deformations at In Salah, Algeria. Int J Greenh Gas Control 4:225–230. doi: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2009.10.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sabet MA (1991) Well test analysis. Gulf Professional Publishing, TexasGoogle Scholar
  32. Spivey JP, Lee WJ (2013) Applied Well Test Interpretation. SPE Textbook Series, Richardson, Texas. ISBN 978-1-61399-307-1Google Scholar
  33. Sun AY, Zeidouni M, Nicot J-P, Lu Z, Zhang D (2013) Assessing leakage detectability at geologic CO2 sequestration sites using the probabilistic collocation method. Adv Water Resour 56:49–60. doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2012.11.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Verruijt A (1969) Elastic storage of aquifers. In: de Wiest RJM (ed) Flow through porous media. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Vilarrasa V, Carrera J (2015) Geologic carbon storage is unlikely to trigger large earthquakes and reactivate faults through which CO2 could leak. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112:5938–5943CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vilarrasa V, Bolster D, Dentz M, Olivella S, Carrera J (2010a) Effects of CO2 compressibility on CO2 storage in deep saline aquifers. Transp Porous Media 85:619–639. doi: 10.1007/s11242-010-9582-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vilarrasa V, Bolster D, Olivella S, Carrera J (2010b) Coupled hydromechanical modeling of CO2 sequestration in deep saline aquifers. Int J Greenh Gas Control 4:910–919. doi: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2010.06.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vilarrasa V, Carrera J, Olivella S (2013) Hydromechanical characterization of CO2 injection sites. Int J Greenh Gas Control 19:665–677. doi: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2012.11.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang Z, Small MJ (2014) A Bayesian approach to CO 2 leakage detection at saline sequestration sites using pressure measurements. Int J Greenh Gas Control 30:188–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yeh H-D, Wang C-T (2007) Large-time solutions for groundwater flow problems using the relationship of small p versus large t. Water Resour Res 43:W06502. doi: 10.1029/2006wr005472 Google Scholar
  41. Zeidouni M (2012) Analytical model of leakage through fault to overlying formations. Water Resour Res 48:W00N02. doi: 10.1029/2012WR012582 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zeidouni M (2014) Analytical model of well leakage pressure perturbations in a closed aquifer system. Adv Water Resour 69:13–22. doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2014.03.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zeidouni M, Pooladi-Darvish M (2012a) Leakage characterization through above-zone pressure monitoring: 1—Inversion approach. J Pet Sci Eng 98–99:95–106. doi: 10.1016/j.petrol.2012.09.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zeidouni M, Pooladi-Darvish M (2012b) Leakage characterization through above-zone pressure monitoring: 2—Design considerations with application to CO2 storage in saline aquifers. J Pet Sci Eng 98–99:69–82. doi: 10.1016/j.petrol.2012.09.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zeidouni M, Pooladi-Darvish M, Keith DW (2011) Analytical models for determining pressure change in an overlying aquifer due to leakage. Energy Procedia 4:3833–3840. doi: 10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.319 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum EngineeringLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Soil Mechanics LabSwiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFLLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations