Simulating seismic chimney structures as potential vertical migration pathways for CO2 in the Snøhvit area, SW Barents Sea: model challenges and outcomes

  • Alexandros Tasianas
  • Lena Mahl
  • Melanie Darcis
  • Stefan Buenz
  • Holger Class
Original Article


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) activities at the Snøhvit field, Barents Sea, will involve carrying out an analysis to determine which parameters affect the migration process of CO2 from the gas reservoir, to what degree they do so and how sensitive these parameters are to any changes. This analysis will aim to evaluate the effects of applying a broad but realistic range of reservoir, fault and gas chimney properties on potential CO2 leakage at various depths throughout the subsurface. Fluid flow might take place through parts of or the entire extent of the overburden. One of the aims of the analysis is assessing the potential of CO2 reaching the seabed. Using the Snøhvit gas reservoir and overburden in the Barents Sea, a series of geological models were built using seismic and well-log data. We then performed numerical simulations of CO2 migration in focused fluid flow structures. Identification of potential migration pathways and their extent, such as gas chimneys and faults, and their incorporation into these models and simulations will provide a realistic insight into the migration potential of CO2. In the simulations the CO2 is injected over a 20 year period at a rate of 0.7 Mt/year and migration is allowed to take place over a 2000 year time frame for domains of approximately 21 km2 for the caprock fault models, 24 km2 for the realistic gas chimney models and 35 km2 for the generic gas chimney models, in a layered sedimentary succession. The total mass of CO2 injected in the reservoir during the 20-year injection period is 14 Mt. There is a strong interaction between the various parameters but the parameter that had the most influence on the CO2 migration process was probably the permeability of the reservoirs, especially the average permeability (k). Also, for the faulted caprock scenarios, it should be noted that at near surface depths the permeability of 765 mD is already adequate for a good CO2 flow. At the chimney top level (600 m) however, a further increase in permeability has an additional effect on improving CO2 flow. Overall, considering the slow upward migration velocity of the plume, this geological setup can be regarded as a suitable storage site.


Geological modeling CO2 simulations Gas chimneys Snøhvit Barents Sea 



This work was partly supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centers of Excellence funding scheme, project number 223259. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under Grant Agreement No 265847.

The authors would like to thank the ECO2 project consortium members for their collaboration in leading to the writing of this paper. The authors are Grateful to Statoil for the seismic data set they provided that enabled the construction of the geological models and various researchers for their advice on parameter value selections. The authors also acknowledge the inputs of the various instructors of various model building courses for providing the necessary tools and knowhow for starting the work. Dr. Rainer Helmig is thanked for hosting me at the Department of Hydromechanics and Modeling of Hydrosystems in Stuttgart in order to better cooperate and coordinate this analysis. I would also like to thank Dr. Bernd Flemisch, from the same department, for taking the first steps in bringing the Tromsø and Stuttgart teams together. The authors are also indebted to the technical support from Schlumberger for being always available to provide solutions to technical issues that arose during the model building process.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandros Tasianas
    • 1
  • Lena Mahl
    • 2
  • Melanie Darcis
    • 2
  • Stefan Buenz
    • 1
  • Holger Class
    • 2
  1. 1.CAGE-Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate, Department of GeologyUiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of Hydromechanics and Modeling of HydrosystemsUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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