CO2-Sequestration and Enhanced Oil Recovery Potential in the Michigan and Appalachian Basins
Lawrence H. Wickstrom1, John A. Harper2, David A. Barnes3, Katharine Lee Avary4,
and Brandon C. Nuttall5
1 Ohio Geological Survey, Columbus, OH
2 Pennsylvania Geological Survey, Pittsburgh, PA
3 Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
4 WV Geological and Economic Survey, Morgantown, WV
5 Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington, KY
The U.S. DOE-funded Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) has recently completed extensive GIS-based mapping of potential carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration reservoirs, including oil and gas fields, for seven states. The Appalachian and Michigan Basins contain some of the largest historic oil-and-gas-producing areas in the conterminous United States. This region has produced over 5 billion barrels of oil and more than 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, secondary, and especially tertiary, recovery attempts have been spotty, at best, within the two basins.
Pennsylvania was an early pioneer in secondary recovery techniques and during the mid-1900s as much as 80 percent of its crude-oil production was from water-flood operations. In spite of this, most reservoirs in the region have not had enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques attempted. Large, natural sources of CO2 for EOR have not been available within these basins as they have in the southwestern U.S. Should CO2 become available via capture from large anthropogenic sources, the region could potentially produce hundreds of millions of barrels of additional oil and sequester over 2 billion tons of CO2.
Only two CO2 enhanced recovery projects are underway in the region. Two Niagaran (Silurian) pinnacle reefs were converted to a miscible CO2 flood in 1996 using CO2 from a nearby gas-processing plant in northern lower Michigan. In eastern Kentucky, operators of a shallow Keefer Sand (Silurian) field are trucking in CO2 for a successful immiscible flood. Case histories of these projects are being reviewed and other fields that could benefit from this technology are under evaluation.