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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  11 Aug 2020

11 Aug 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Fault sealing and caprock integrity for CO2 storage: an in-situ injection experiment

Alba Zappone1,2, Antonio Pio Rinaldi1,5, Melchior Grab3, Quinn Wenning3, Clément Roques3,4, Claudio Madonna2, Anne Obermann1, Stefano M. Bernasconi3, Florian Soom5, Paul Cook5, Yves Guglielmi5, Christophe Nussbaum6, Domenico Giardini3, and Stefan Wiemer1 Alba Zappone et al.
  • 1Swiss Seismological Service, ETHZ, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, ETHZ, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, ETHZ, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland
  • 4Géosciences Rennes, University of Rennes 1, Rennes, 35000, France
  • 5Energy Geosciences Division, LBNL Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
  • 6Swiss Geological Survey, swisstopo, Wabern, 3084, Switzerland

Abstract. The success of geological carbon storage depends on the assurance of a permanent confinement of the injected CO2 in the storage formation at depth. One of the critical elements of the safekeeping of CO2 is the sealing capacity of the caprock overlying the storage formation, despite faults and/or fractures, which may occur in it. In this work, we present an ongoing injection experiment performed in a fault hosted in clay at the Mont Terri underground rock laboratory (NW Switzerland). The experiment aims at improving our understanding on the main physical and chemical mechanisms controlling i) the migration of CO2 through a fault damage zone, ii) the interaction of the CO2 with the neighbouring intact rock, and iii) the impact of the injection on the transmissivity in the fault. To this end, we inject a CO2-saturated saline water in the top of a 3 m think fault in the Opalinus Clay, a clay formation that is a good analogue of common caprock for CO2 storage at depth. The mobility of the CO2 within the fault is studied at decameter scale, by using a comprehensive monitoring system. Our experiment aims to the closing of the knowledge gap between laboratory and reservoir scales. Therefore, an important aspect of the experiment is the decameter scale and the prolonged duration of observations over many months. We collect observations and data from a wide range of monitoring systems, such as a seismic network, pressure temperature and electrical conductivity sensors, fiber optics, extensometers, and an in situ mass spectrometer for dissolved gas monitoring. The observations are complemented by laboratory data on collected fluids and rock samples. Here we show the details of the experimental concept and installed instrumentation, as well as the first results of the preliminary characterization. Analysis of borehole logging allow identifying potential hydraulic transmissive structures within the fault zone. A preliminary analysis of the injection tests helped estimating the transmissivity of such structures within the fault zone, as well as the pressure required to mechanically open such features. The preliminary tests did not record any induced microseismic events. Active seismic tomography enabled a sharp imaging the fault zone.

Alba Zappone et al.

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Alba Zappone et al.

Alba Zappone et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The success of geological storage of carbon dioxide is linked to the availability at depth of a capable reservoir and of an impermeable caprock. The sealing capacity of the caprock is a key parameter for the long-term CO2 containment. Faults crosscutting the caprock might represent preferential pathways for CO2 to escape. A decameter scale experiment of injection in a fault, monitored by an integrated network of multi-paramerter sensors shed light to the mobility of fluids within the fault.
The success of geological storage of carbon dioxide is linked to the availability at depth of a...