Dynamic alterations in wellbore cement integrity due to geochemical reactions in CO2-rich environments

Authors

  • Peilin Cao,

    Corresponding author
    1. John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and EMS Energy Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. National Energy Technology Laboratory-Regional University Alliance (NETL-RUA), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
    • Corresponding author: P. Cao, John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. (pxc5102@psu.edu)

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  • Zuleima T. Karpyn,

    1. John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and EMS Energy Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. National Energy Technology Laboratory-Regional University Alliance (NETL-RUA), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
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  • Li Li

    1. John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and EMS Energy Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. National Energy Technology Laboratory-Regional University Alliance (NETL-RUA), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
    3. Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
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Abstract

[1] The interaction between wellbore cement and CO2 has the potential to alter cement properties and form preferential leakage pathways during geological carbon sequestration. This work investigates changes in wellbore cement integrity during continuous flooding of CO2-saturated brine. We created composite cement-sandstone core samples with a continuous gap in the cement zone in order to represent defects such as fractures and voids in wellbore cement. Volumetric and structural changes in the cement zone were monitored and quantified using X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography imaging. During an 8 day dynamic flow-through period, the fracture/void aperture increased significantly, whereas the host sandstone remained unaltered. The void volume increased at a faster rate in the early stage of the flow-through period than it did toward the end of the period. Compared to the apertures close to the core outlet, those located near the core inlet experienced more severe cement degradation, accompanied by a decrease in specific surface area, constituting evidence of a smoothing effect. Contrary to previous observations of the self-healing behavior of cement fractures, the in situ permeability on a parallel experiment increased by a factor of 8 after 10 days of flooding. Findings from this work will provide valuable insights applicable to the development of predictive models and for risk assessment under conditions relevant to CO2 sequestration.

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