Semi-analytical Solution for Multiphase Fluid Flow Applied to CO2 Sequestration in Geologic Porous Media



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The increasing concentration of CO_(2) has been linked to global warming and changes in climate. Geologic sequestration of CO_(2) in deep saline aquifers is a proposed greenhouse gas mitigation technology with potential to significantly reduce atmospheric emissions of CO_(2). Feasibility assessments of proposed sequestration sites require realistic and computationally efficient models to simulate the subsurface pressure response and monitor the injection process, and quantify the risks of leakage if there is any. This study investigates the possibility of obtaining closed form expressions for spatial distribution of CO_(2) injected in brine aquifers and gas reservoirs.

Four new semi-analytical solutions for CO_(2) injection in brine aquifers and gas reservoirs are derived in this dissertation. Both infinite and closed domains are considered in the study. The first solution is an analysis of CO_(2) injection into an initially brine-filled infinite aquifer, exploiting self?similarity and matched asymptotic expansion. The second is an expanding to the first solution to account for CO_(2) injection into closed domains. The third and fourth solutions are analyzing the CO_(2) injection in infinite and closed gas reservoirs. The third and fourth solutions are derived using Laplace transform. The brine aquifer solutions accounted for both Darcyian and non-Darcyian flow, while, the gas reservoir solutions considered the gas compressibility variations with pressure changes.

Existing analytical solutions assume injection under constant rate at the wellbore. This assumption is problematic because injection under constant rate is hard to maintain, especially for gases. The modeled injection processes in all aforementioned solutions are carried out under constant pressure injection at the wellbore (i.e. Dirichlet boundary condition). One major dif?culty in developing an analytical or semi-analytical solution involving injection of CO_(2) under constant pressure is that the flux of CO_(2) at the wellbore is not known. The way to get around this obstacle is to solve for the pressure wave first as a function of flux, and then solve for the flux numerically, which is subsequently plugged back into the pressure formula to get a closed form solution of the pressure. While there is no simple equation for wellbore flux, our numerical solutions show that the evolution of flux is very close to a logarithmic decay with time. This is true for a large range of the reservoir and CO_(2) properties.

The solution is not a formation specific, and thus is more general in nature than formation-specific empirical relationships. Additionally, the solution then can be used as the basis for designing and interpreting pressure tests to monitor the progress of CO_(2) injection process. Finally, the infinite domain solution is suitable to aquifers/reservoirs with large spatial extent and low permeability, while the closed domain solution is applicable to small aquifers/reservoirs with high permeability.