AAPG ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION
Making the Next Giant Leap in Geosciences
April 10-13, 2011, Houston, Texas, USA
Carbon Storage Options for the Power Industry in the Texas Gulf Coast Area
(1) Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.
The Texas Tertiary lignite belt currently provides a significant share of the state energy needs and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Possible implementation of carbon policy may entail injection of the CO2 into the subsurface. The carbon storage capacity in the Gulf Coast area is large but favorable storage sites are not necessarily located underneath the power plants (for example, offshore). The same areas (onshore) also contain valuable groundwater resources that require protection. Risks to groundwater drive the regulatory framework of carbon storage. Risks are multiple resulting from leakage of the buoyant CO2 but also from brine invasion following pressurization of the system along weakness conduits such as wellbores with defects and/or vertically transmissive faults. Brine production and reinjection can be engineered to reduce the excess pressure, but at an added cost. It follows that permanence of the storage needs to be ensured by a judicious choice of the injection sites. We present guidelines and suggestions for effective storage of CO2 in the Gulf Coast area.