Petroleum Engineering & Analytics Research Lab

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Coal supplies nearly 50 percent of domestic electricity. In order for low cost electricity from coal‑fired power plants to remain viable, economical methods for capturing and storing the greenhouse gas emissions from these plants must be developed. CO2 storage in deep geologic formations and its use as an agent for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) will likely be one of the most economical ways to achieve this goal. Once the CO2 is deposited in underground geologic formations, effective ways to monitor the deposits and protect against leaks will be critical.

Hardware already exists to place an array of permanent down‑hole gauges or PDGs in the wells. The PDGs monitor the pressure changes in the formation and transmit high frequency data streams to the surface. Pressure changes are indicators of a potential leakage in the system and can also be used as a tool to track the movement of CO2 plume in the reservoir. The aim of our studies and the related projects is to enhance the capability to simulate, track, and evaluate the potential risks of carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations and develop the next generation of computer software that will take maximum advantage of the data collected by the PDGs to continuously monitor and verify CO2 sequestration and its effectiveness as a EOR agent.

The technologies developed during PEARL’s projects will identify the approximate location and amount of the CO2 leakage in the reservoir. Once the approximate location of a potential CO2 leakage is identified, the information is communicated for more precise detection and analysis.

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