In CO2 storage projects, CO2 usually enters the target reservoir at a lower temperature than that of the surrounding rock and its density is increased. The injection temperature affects how much CO2 can be stored. In this work we investigate the impact of heat exchange during CO2 injection into the Surat Basin, Australia, using integrated reservoir modelling. We evaluate the aquifer storage and sealing capacities, as well as pressure build up and CO2 plume migration.

Flow simulations of CO2 injection into the Precipice Sandstone were conducted with injection temperature from 40 to 80°C. The modelling domain consists of the reservoir sandstone, an overlying transition zone (muddy sandstone) and above it, the ultimate seal. The distribution of porosity, permeability and capillary pressure is heterogeneous. Heat exchange between rock and fluids was enabled in the commercial simulator to evaluate changes in fluid properties due to wellbore cooling. The initial temperature was set to 80°C. The injector’s wellbore pressure drop is modelled honouring a constant well head pressure of 15,000 kPa. The maximum allowed bottom-hole pressure is 90% of a thermally reduced fracturing pressure.

The viscosity of water and CO2 increases during cooling of the near wellbore zone; thus, pressure build up grows faster in the case of lower injection temperatures. Although the bottom-hole pressure becomes higher, injection rate is constrained by well head pressure. Heat exchange also increases the density and saturation of CO2 at the plume edge, which causes a sharper and faster advancing front. Higher pressure in the reservoir forces fluids to migrate to the transition zone, which also reduces its temperature. CO2 flows preferentially through the lowest capillary pressure channels and is able to permeate slightly into the transition zone. These physical conditions at the bottom of the well (lower temperature and higher pressure) lead to a denser CO2 plume and a greater mass is stored in the reservoir each year.

This work analyses non-isothermal injection of CO2 into an aquifer using integrated reservoir modelling. It illustrates how reservoir cooling may increase the rate of CO2 storage and slight migration to the transition zone.

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