Assessment of the Newburg Sandstone as a CO2 Storage Unit in West Virginia
J. Eric Lewis
West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, Morgantown, WV, [email protected]
Concern over CO2 emissions from power plants has sparked great interest in several deep saline aquifers within the Appalachian Basin. The Silurian Newburg Sandstone Play, a well-developed gas reservoir, has clearly defined fields with high porosity and permeability. However, outside of these fields, well control and well samples are sporadic.
Examination of existing cores yields new information which questions not only the original depositional model, but also the Newburg correlation with rocks that outcrop in eastern West Virginia. These new data allow for a more complete reconstruction of the depositional history of the basin and help explain the transition into the evaporite sequence of the overlying Salina formation. This thick package of evaporitic strata provides an extensive seal above a potential Newburg storage horizon.
The compartmentalized nature of the Newburg Sandstone suggests that it is more appropriately suited for small-scale injection tests into individual, proven, exhausted production fields as opposed to large-scale, regional storage operations. The unique characteristics of the Newburg make it an interesting formation which should be considered regarding other energy issues in addition to CO2 sequestration. A depleted field may also be appropriate for other injection activities, such as the trend of utilization of CO2 for the enhanced recovery of natural gas. Brine disposal operations might also benefit from the unique characteristics of the Newburg.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90154©2012 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio, 22-26 September 2012