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Integrated Framework for Assessing Impacts of CO2 Leakage on Groundwater Quality and Monitoring-Network Efficiency: Case Study at a CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Site

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journal contribution
posted on 21.07.2015, 00:00 by Changbing Yang, Susan D. Hovorka, Ramón H. Treviño, Jesus Delgado-Alonso
This study presents a combined use of site characterization, laboratory experiments, single-well push–pull tests (PPTs), and reactive transport modeling to assess potential impacts of CO2 leakage on groundwater quality and leakage-detection ability of a groundwater monitoring network (GMN) in a potable aquifer at a CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2 EOR) site. Site characterization indicates that failures of plugged and abandoned wells are possible CO2 leakage pathways. Groundwater chemistry in the shallow aquifer is dominated mainly by silicate mineral weathering, and no CO2 leakage signals have been detected in the shallow aquifer. Results of the laboratory experiments and the field test show no obvious damage to groundwater chemistry should CO2 leakage occur and further were confirmed with a regional-scale reactive transport model (RSRTM) that was built upon the batch experiments and validated with the single-well PPT. Results of the RSRTM indicate that dissolved CO2 as an indicator for CO2 leakage detection works better than dissolved inorganic carbon, pH, and alkalinity at the CO2 EOR site. The detection ability of a GMN was assessed with monitoring efficiency, depending on various factors, including the natural hydraulic gradient, the leakage rate, the number of monitoring wells, the aquifer heterogeneity, and the time for a CO2 plume traveling to the monitoring well.

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