Industrial-scale geological storage of CO2 in saline aquifers may cause CO2 and brine leakage from abandoned wells into shallow fresh aquifers. This leakage problem involves the flow dynamics in both the wellbore and the storage reservoir. T2Well/ECO2N, a coupled wellbore-reservoir flow simulator, was used to analyze CO2 and brine leakage under different conditions with a hypothetical simulation model in water-CO2-brine systems. Parametric studies on CO2 and brine leakage, including the salinity, excess pore pressure (EPP) and initially dissolved CO2 mass fraction, are conducted to understand the mechanism of CO2 migration. The results show that brine leakage rates increase proportionally with EPP and inversely with the salinity when EPP varies from 0.5 to 1.5 MPa; however, there is no CO2 leakage into the shallow freshwater aquifer if EPP is less than 0.5 MPa. The dissolved CO2 mass fraction shows an important influence on the CO2 plume, as part of the dissolved CO2 becomes a free phase. Scenario simulation shows that the gas lifting effect will significantly increase the brine leakage rate into the shallow freshwater aquifer under the scenario of 3.89% dissolved CO2 mass fraction. The equivalent porous media (EPM) approach used to model the wellbore flow has been evaluated and results show that the EPM approach could either under- or over-estimate brine leakage rates under most scenarios. The discrepancies become more significant if a free CO2 phase evolves. Therefore, a model that can correctly describe the complex flow dynamics in the wellbore is necessary for investigating the leakage problems.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 9, 2017
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