Geological carbon sequestration through injecting large-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) into the deep saline aquifers represents a long-term storage of CO2. In the CO2 sequestration process, the injected CO2 is displacing water from the injection point and is expected to remain in the reservoir. Due to the nature of one phase displacing another phase in porous media, it is noted that different water saturation exists in the CO2 plume during the displacement. Water distribution in the plume will affect the size of the plume subsurface. Furthermore, the gravitational segregation between CO2 and water will cause overriding-tonguing during the injection and impact the shape of plume. To better understand the CO2 movement underground and development of CO2 plume, it is necessary to take the two-phase flow and gravity force effects into account when evaluating CO2 displacing water. The displacement of water by injecting CO2 is not a piston-like process in aquifer. Because water is the wetting phase and CO2 is the non-wetting phase when two phases flow in reservoir, water occupies the surface of matrix and small pores while CO2 resides in large pores and centers of pores. As a result, various water saturations distribute behind CO2 front during the displacement. The distribution is a function of fluid and rock properties, fluid-rock interaction, and injection operation. In this study, these factors are considered when developing new models to predict CO2 plume evolution during injection. Mass conservation, multiphase flow, and equation-of-states are applied in the derivation of the models, which guarantees a rigorous approach in the investigation. The modeling results indicate that CO2 does not displace water completely away from the plume. The shape of the CO2 front is controlled by the relative permeability of two phases and capillary pressure. Water saturation profile from CO2 injecting point to the displacement front shows that water saturation behind the CO2 front increases outwardly, and the change in saturation is non-linear. The injection rate impacts the sharpness of the CO2 front, thus leads to different gas plume sizes for same injection volume. The outward movement of the CO2 front decelerates as injection time goes on. The research illustrates that injection experiences two stages: transient and steady-state, in which the displacement behavior and the development of gas plume vary. Although the duration of transient stage is dictated by size of aquifer and is relatively short comparing with steady-state stage, its influence on the development of CO2 plume cannot be neglected when selecting gas compressor horsepower and determining injection rate.
The Development of CO2 Plume in CO2 Sequestration in the Aquifer
Fu, Hao, Long, Yifu, Wang, Sai, Wang, Yanbo, Yu, Peng, and Kegang Ling. "The Development of CO2 Plume in CO2 Sequestration in the Aquifer." Paper presented at the Carbon Management Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, USA, July 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.7122/CMTC-552516-MS
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