CO2 injection in carbonate formations causes a reduction in the well injectivity, due to precipitation of the reaction products between CO2/ rock/brine. The precipitated material includes sulfate and carbonate scales. The homogeneity of the carbonate rock, in terms of mineralogy and rock structure, is an important factor that affects the behavior of permeability changes during CO2 injection.
Limestone rocks represent the homogenous rock in this study, and include: Pink Desert limestone and Austin chalk, which are mainly calcite. Silurian dolomite (composed of 98% carbonate minerals, and 2% silicate minerals) and Indiana limestone rock represent the heterogeneous rock, which have some vugs in their structure.
Coreflood experiments were conducted to compare the behavior of the permeability loss between these rocks. CO2 was injected with the water alternating gas (WAG) technique. Different brines were examined including seawater and no sulfate seawater. The experiments were run at a pressure of 1300 psi, a temperature of 200°F, and an injection rate of 5 cm3/min. A compositional simulator tool (CMG-GEM) was used to confirm the experimental results obtained in this study.
The results showed that for homogenous rocks, the presence of sodium sulfate in the injected seawater is the major factor that causes formation damage, due to calcium sulfate precipitation in CO2 environments. For dolomite rocks, higher damage was noted, due to the reactions of CO2 with the silicate minerals. For both homogenous and heterogeneous rocks, the source of damage for high permeability cores is the precipitation of reaction products, while for low permeability cores, water blockage increases the severity of formation damage. The simulation study showed that the power-law exponent, and Carman-Kozeny exponent between 5 and 6, can be used for homogenous carbonate rock to estimate the change in permeability based on the change in porosity, for heterogeneous rock a larger exponent was needed.