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Merging the Crosscutting Technologies and Concepts of Petroleum Exploration, Nuclear Siting and Storage, and Geological Carbon Sequestration

Wyatt, Douglas E.1
1 URS, Aiken, SC.

The exploration and development of resources increasingly involves holistic approaches, particularly in the geosciences. The technology and theory applied to tight formations and shale reservoirs, and long-known concepts associated with CO2 flooding, overlaps research into geological carbon sequestration. Advanced in four-dimensional reservoir characterization and engineering overlaps deep carbon storage safety based risk assessment methodologies as it has previously for deep underground waste injection. Nuclear facility siting involves many of the concepts associated with reservoir development and deep carbon sequestration.

Deep geologic storage of carbon, primarily from coal-fired power plants, has become the “hottest” geological waste storage topic since the beginnings of Yucca Mountain. Recent agreements to include the risks and costs associated with carbon production in all major energy applications and documents will accelerate programs for geological sequestration. Major international companies involved in deep nuclear waste storage and facility siting, and large multi-national oil and gas deep reservoir service companies, are heavily involved in the emerging geological carbon sequestration markets. The IAEA recently announced a program combining the concepts associated with deep geological nuclear waste storage with those required for deep carbon geological storage. Professional courses in the geosequestration of carbon rely heavily on reservoir analysis analogues and tools. Therefore, using a mathematical analogy, the geoconcepts in reservoir analysis, long-term geosequestration of carbon, and nuclear facility siting are equal.

Coupled with this merging of the geosciences is the growing concept of multi-use, minimal footprint, energy facilities. These include combined CO2 flood with permanent storage, nuclear repository with combined sequestration, nuclear facility siting in highly characterized oil and gas areas, and single site nuclear and coal electrical production with on-site sequestration and deep waste storage. The geoscience modeling and analysis of the surface and subsurface for these facilities uses similar tools and techniques and overlap in many ways but the utilization of the data, and the end means determined from the data, may vary. Presented here is a cross-correlation of functions and techniques across these concepts showing similarities and differences for their holistic use.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009