An ECR at the geophysical modelling of CO2 specialist meeting

This blog was written by Rami Eid, who is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and received funding by the UKCCSRC’s ECR Meeting Fund, to attend the Geophysical modelling of CO2 specialist meeting.

The geophysical modelling of CO2 specialist meeting was held in Leeds on Tuesday 3rd November, inviting specialists in geophysical monitoring and modelling of injected CO2 in the subsurface. The specialists involved University researchers from all over the UK, as well as government and industry delegates from the UK and abroad. The main strength of the meeting was the integration of several complementary geophysical techniques; geomechanics, rock physics petrophysics and passive and active seismics.

Fault reactivation and modelling was an important topic which was covered by a few presentations. This is no surprise as it is an important issue for safe storage security as well as the public acceptance of CCS. Jonny Rutqvist (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) used numerical modelling to induce fault reactivation at high injection pressures in order to assess the relationship between seismicity and fault reactivation and leakage through a caprock. Quentin Fisher (University of Leeds) took this one step further by looking at the stress paths during deflation and inflation by history matching couple flow and geomechanical models with 4D seismic. While Adriana Paluszny (Imperial College London) focused on modelling fracture growth and caprock integrity at a finer scale in order to provide more detail about how fractures will and will not propagate.

The application of geophysical monitoring techniques at current CO2 storage sites was definitely a personal highlight of the meeting. Andrew Cavanagh (Statoil Research) gave a very interesting presentation about the sensitivity of CO2 simulations to pressure artifacts and highlighted the importance of sensitivity analysis in modelling workflows. This was demonstrated through results from the Sleipner CCS project. Jim White (BGS) used the Sleipner seismic data to assess the ability to monitor and map thin layers of CO2 in the subsurface, in particular through the acquisition of recent high frequency data. Furthermore, Jim also presented some of the recent work on the Snohvit CCS project which showcased some very nice, very clean seismic time-lapse images. As a geophysicist I found this very exciting as the sections clearly showed nice, clear amplitude changes resulting from CO2 saturation within the reservoir, as well as pressure effects. Anna Stork (University of Bristol) then presented some of the recent work on passive seismic monitoring currently carried out at current CCS projects Weyburn, InSalah and Aquistore, to great effect.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a proper geophysics meeting without some petrophysics. Giorgos Papageorgiou (University of Edinburgh) gave a very interesting presentation about advancements in rock physics modelling, in particular the advancements in improved estimation of CO2 saturation, by highlighting the effect (and importance) of capillary pressure in rock physics.

Clearly evident from the presentations was the very high level, world leading research which is currently being undertaken in the field of geophysical modelling of CO2. The presentations captivated the audience throughout the day and generated some great discussions during the breaks. The meeting concluded with a fantastic poster session by the ECR’s, enjoyed over a great selection of cheese and wine.