Reduction of lateral pressure propagation due to dissipation into ambient mudrocks during geological carbon dioxide storage

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Abstract

[1] Carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in deep geological formations can lead to significant reductions in anthropogenic CO2 emissions if large amounts of CO2 can be stored. Estimates of the storage capacity are therefore essential to the evaluation of individual storage sites as well as the feasibility of the technology. One important limitation on the storage capacity is the radius of review, the lateral extent of the pressure perturbation, of the storage project. We show that pressure dissipation into ambient mudrocks retards lateral pressure propagation significantly and therefore increases the storage capacity. For a three-layer model of a reservoir surrounded by thick mudrocks, the far-field pressure is approximated well by a single-phase model. Through dimensional analysis and numerical simulations, we show that the lateral extent of the pressure front follows a power law that depends on a single dissipation parameter math formula, where math formula and math formula are the ratios of mudrock to reservoir permeability and specific storage, and math formula is the aspect ratio of the confined pressure plume. Both the coefficient and the exponent of the power law are sigmoid decreasing functions of math formula. The math formula values of typical storage sites are in the region where the power-law changes rapidly. The combination of large uncertainty in mudrock properties and the sigmoid shape leads to wide and strongly skewed probability distributions for the predicted radius of review and storage capacity. Therefore, if the lateral extent of the pressure front limits the storage capacity, the determination of the mudrock properties is an important component of site characterization.

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