Effects of in-situ conditions on relative permeability characteristics of CO2-brine systems

Research paper by Stefan Bachu, Brant Bennion

Indexed on: 24 Jul '07Published on: 24 Jul '07Published in: Environmental Geology


Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage (CCGS) is an emerging technology that is increasingly being considered for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Deep saline aquifers provide a very large capacity for CO2 storage and, unlike hydrocarbon reservoirs and coal beds, are immediately accessible and are found in all sedimentary basins. Proper understanding of the displacement character of CO2-brine systems at in-situ conditions is essential in ascertaining CO2 injectivity, migration and trapping in the pore space as a residual gas or supercritical fluid, and in assessing the suitability and safety of prospective CO2 storage sites. Because of lack of published data, the authors conducted a program of measuring the relative permeability and other displacement characteristics of CO2-brine systems for sandstone, carbonate and shale formations in central Alberta in western Canada. The tested formations are representative of the in-situ characteristics of deep saline aquifers in compacted on-shore North American sedimentary basins. The results show that the capillary pressure, interfacial tension, relative permeability and other displacements characteristics of CO2-brine systems depend on the in-situ conditions of pressure, temperature and water salinity, and on the pore size distribution of the sedimentary rock. This paper presents a synthesis and interpretation of the results.