Core Research Projects: Storage & transport, B1 – Pressure propagation and control


Key facts about this core research project

Theme: Storage & transport
Researchers: Dr Andy Chadwick, Prof Stuart Haszeldine, Dr Stuart Gilfillan, Dr Jerome Neufeld, Dr Gareth Williams, John Williams
Institution: University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and British Geological Survey
Start date: 2017

Why is this research needed?

For the storage potential of the UK North Sea to be realised, CO2 will have to be stored over a range of reservoir types, from older lithified and less permeable rocks to much younger more permeable sites[1].

Injecting CO2 into the subsurface will cause a temporary increase in the pressure of fluids trapped within the rocks. Understanding how this pressure wave travels through the rocks and the possible effects of increasing pressure in the subsurface are important to ensure the safe containment of the CO2.

[1] Noy D.J., Holloway S., Chadwick R.A., Williams J.D.O, Hannis S.A. & Lahann R. 2012. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control, 9, 220-233

What is this research investigating?

To improve our ability to predict the volume of CO2 which can be stored, we are modelling the propagation of pressure throughout the reservoir. By constructing reduced models to explain this surface ground deformation in current storage sites, we can increase our understanding of the distribution of pressure over time within storage reservoirs.

Research will focus on understanding transient pressure response, pressure propagation, induced strain [2] and post-injection pressure decay in aquifers of varying degrees of cementation, rigidity, and sedimentological and structural complexity via multi-scale numerical and analytical modelling. This will examine the impact of small-scale rock heterogeneity, the effect of compartmentalisation by faults and their damage zones, and by stratigraphical and diagenetic complexity, on the amount of CO2 that can be stored in each reservoir type[3].

Data will be obtained from a number of reservoirs covering the range of length scales that control the pressure response both proximally and distally. Data scale-up from these reservoirs will include core-size pore distribution, outcrop, 3D seismics and extended-period satellite surface elevation records. The work will focus on faults and fault damage zones (e.g. deformation bands) as the flow behaviour of these to different fluids is not well understood. The bulk flow properties of these features will be established, so they can be properly incorporated into storage assessments and storage security evaluations.

[2] Hewitt D. R., Neufeld J. A., & Balmforth N. J. 2015. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 778, 335–360.

[3] Chadwick R.A., Noy D.J. & Holloway S. Petroleum Geoscience, 2009, 15, 59-73.

What does the research hope to achieve?

In the short term this work will increase certainty in the development of priority UK storage sites. In the longer term this will help improve site efficiency and handover in many reservoirs for a realistic rollout of UK CO2 storage.

A key outcome of the work will be the ability to upscale the results from core/outcrop scale to reservoir scale through the use of multi-scale flow models, analytical models and numerical upscaling tools. Results will interface with the process models developed in the research work package of B2 CO2 Migration and Storage. Modelling will be calibrated by real datasets from large-scale production and storage including: injection pressures; long-term pressure recharge; dynamic well tests; time-lapse seismics; syn and post-injection InSAR surface elevations. It will utilise findings from the DiSECCS project (EP/K035878/1) which has developed new seismic tools for identifying and characterising pressure changes in injection reservoirs. The work will result in improved understanding of pressure build-up, propagation and decay in faulted and heterogeneous reservoirs.

Research updates

See below for recent updates and resources on this research project.


September 2019 Conference presentation

See the presentation from our September 2019 Conference (Overview of storage theme projects) >>


September 2019 Conference presentation

See the presentation from our September 2019 Conference (BGS contribution to storage theme projects) >>


September 2019 Conference blog

See the blog by Mathilde Fajardy about this project from our September 2019 Conference >>

Research outputs

Find links to publications, datasets and any other outputs below.


Frontiers in Energy Research publication

Sequential Combustion in Steam Methane Reformers for Hydrogen and Power Production With CCUS in Decarbonized Industrial Clusters


International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control

The impact of energy systems demands on pressure limited CO2 storage in the Bunter Sandstone of the UK Southern North Sea


Energy Procedia

Sensitivity Analysis of the Dynamic CO2 Storage Capacity Estimate for the Bunter Sandstone of the UK Southern North Sea


European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers

Ensuring Containment of Carbon Dioxide: Detailed Investigations of the Structural Integrity of the Captain Sandstone


Earth-Science Reviews

What have we learnt about CO2 leakage from CO2 release field experiments, and what are the gaps for the future?