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Applying Geologic Carbon Dioxide Sequestration to Underground Waste Injection

Ernie R. Slucher
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, [email protected]

Over the last decade numerous research initiatives on greenhouse gas emissions have focused on the feasibility of the storage of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) in subsurface geologic formations for long-term sequestration. Projects have ranged in size and scope—from the current U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) national CO2 storage assessment of geologic strata in individual basins, to very detailed local investigations for site-specific applications. Regardless of the degree of the individual project, a central theme exist in all—discern the various geologic elements and attributes of a specific region amendable for long-term geologic storage of CO2 emissions. Most carbon dioxide geologic storage assessments have produced a robust data set on the spatial extent of potential geologic reservoirs and seals for a large volume of the nonpetroleum- and petroleum-bearing rocks in the stratigraphic record, especially those occurring in the interval between about 2,500 feet below the surface and basement rocks of the region being studied. These data include, but are not limited to, formation facies and isopach trends, structural elements, petrophysical data, ground water quality, and drilling penetration densities. The recent exploitation of continuous oil- and gas-resources in organic-rich shale in numerous geologic basins in the United States produces as a by-product, residual fluids needing remediation or disposal. Sealing and storage formations data from these CO2 geologic sequestration assessments can significantly aid in identifying those deep formations that may be the best candidates for deep, underground waste injection of these residual fluids since all of the measurements and estimates obtained for geologic CO2 storage assessments have the potential to be used to evaluate geologic formations for long-term geologic storage of waste fluids. Especially useful are information obtained on deep ground-water systems containing less than 10,000 parts per million and porosity and permeability trends within potential reservoirs. Yet, to be applied for such usage, modification to account for the much higher densities and potential injectivity issues of the waste fluids compared to CO2 must be considered.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90154©2012 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio, 22-26 September 2012