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Regional Geologic History, CO2 Source Inventory, and Groundwater Risk Assessment of a Potential CO2 Sequestration Site on the Rock Springs Uplift in Southwest Wyoming

  • J. Fred McLaughlin
  • Ramsey D. Bentley
  • Scott A. Quillinan
Chapter
Part of the Springer Environmental Science and Engineering book series (SPRINGERENVIRON)

Abstract

The location of a potential carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project in southwest Wyoming is evaluated with emphasis on the site location, geologic history, location of potential drinking-water aquifers, and proximity to sources of both anthropogenic and natural CO2. Natural and anthropogenic CO2 sources were mapped in Wyoming to define their relation to enhanced oil recovery opportunities and prospective storage sites. Of the nearly 60 Mt of anthropogenic CO2 emissions reported in Wyoming, half were located in the Greater Green River Basin (GGRB) in southwest Wyoming. The Rock Springs Uplift (RSU) CO2 storage site is located in the GGRB, and is a promising structure for commercial CO2 storage/surge tank development. Successful economic utilization of natural and anthropogenic CO2 depends on near-by sources, infrastructure, areas of resource depletion suitable for enhanced recovery, and areas of potential storage.

The RSU is the GGRB’s youngest Laramide uplift (45 m.y.b.p.). Strata on the RSU are largely offset by a blind thrust fault on the western border of the asymmetric anticline. The sedimentary section at the well site consists of more than 4100 m of Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks and spans nearly 500 m.y. of geologic history. Investigations were conducted to characterize potential Paleozoic reservoirs and their associated seals. The Paleozoic reservoirs are located at depths over 3400 m; approximately 280 m of core was recovered from the Pennsylvanian Weber Sandstone and Mississippian Madison Limestone and associated seals for analysis of reservoir and sealing characteristics. Lithology and geologic history have resulted in a stratigraphic section on the RSU that has deep, thick reservoirs and multiple overlying seals.

A major concern in long-term CCS is the potential for leakage and the resulting risk of contamination of overlying groundwater aquifers. It is therefore important to characterize the groundwater resources of associated aquifers and active groundwater wells at potential CCS sites. Groundwater use at and near the storage site is sparse: only four groundwater permits for drinking water wells were identified in the area. Two intervals of potential potable water were identified in the Cretaceous Ericson Sandstone during completion of the RSU #1 well. On the basis of an extensive literary search and petrophysical data from the RSU #1 well, sequestering CO2 in the Weber and Madison aquifers at the study site poses no perceptible threat to current groundwater use or resources.

Keywords

Lower Triassic Hydrogeologic Unit Mesozoic Rock Petrophysical Data Blind Thrust Fault 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Fred McLaughlin
    • 1
  • Ramsey D. Bentley
    • 1
  • Scott A. Quillinan
    • 1
  1. 1.Carbon Management Institute LaramieUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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