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type     June, 2005

Vol 2 Chapter 9: Natural Gas Storage Industry Experience and Technology: Potential Application to CO2 Geological Storage

Kent F. Perry

Abstract: This chapter reviews the portfolio of technologies available within the underground gas storage industries in the United States, Canada, and Europe and evaluates their applicability to geologic CO2 storage. Gas storage operators have accumulated a significant knowledge base for the safe and effective storage of natural gas. While gas leakage has occurred due to well failures and geologic factors, overall gas storage has been effectively and efficiently performed for over 90 years. There are three types of “gas movement” described in this summary;

  1. gas leakage—defined as unwanted gas movement through an intended cap rock
  2. gas release—defined as leaking gas having escaped to the atmosphere, and
  3. gas migration—unwanted gas movement within a reservoir but contained within the reservoir.

Only 10 of the approximately 600 storage reservoirs operated in the United States, Canada, and Europe have been identified to have experienced leakage, subject to the ability to detect such leakage by monitoring, material balance, and other methods. Most gas leakage incidents in underground natural gas storage operations have occurred due to wellbore integrity problems. Poor cement jobs, casing corrosion, and improperly plugged wells in converted oil and gas fields have all contributed to gas leakage. Remedial action procedures and technologies to address these problems are well established in the oil and gas industry and have been proven to be effective. It is of special note that leakage of natural gas has occurred in at least one field despite application of practically all available technology and integrity determination techniques. Accordingly, the caution directed at the gas storage industry by Dr Donald Katz in the 1960s is applicable to the newly developing carbon dioxide (CO2) storage industry today. Katz essentially warned that zero leakage is difficult to verify and impossible to guarantee. Assuring rapid detection and repair of any potential leaks is more realistic. A number of technologies developed by the underground gas storage industry in the United States and Europe have been identified as having potential application to geologic CO2 storage. We have identified 24 technologies or technology areas as having application to geological CO2 storage. Of those, five technologies/techniques were determined to be most relevant. The five most relevant technologies are:

  1. “Watching the Barn Doors” (utilization of all techniques on a continuous basis),
  2. gas storage observation wells,
  3. pump-testing techniques,
  4. cap rock sealing (important approaches have been developed in this area but successful sealing has not been achieved)
  5. and surface monitoring.

Carbon Dioxide Capture for Storage in Deep Geologic Formations – Results from the CO2 Capture Project Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide with Monitoring and Verification - Volume 2
Edited by:
Sally M. Benson, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA

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