The team’s next step is to model a hypothetical injection at a site outside of Edmonton, Alberta (Figure 10). The site is close to several major point sources of CO2 and has many hundreds of existing wells in its vicinity. Working with Stefan Bachu from the Alberta Geological Survey, the researchers have identified all existing wells in the area, and have put together a description of the geological layering to a depth of several kilometers. In addition, each permeable layer has been assigned a value of permeability and porosity, based on available data. The researchers have located a hypothetical injection well, and have begun to perform simulations with both the analytical model and a coarse-grid simulation with upscaling.

Figure 10. Location of the proposed Wabamun Lake study area outside of Edmonton, Alberta and surrounding point sources of CO2. Graphic courtesy of Stefan Bachu.

In November 2005, the Celia group hosted a workshop at Princeton focused on modeling leakage associated with CO2 injection. The workshop was technical, and gathered some of the leading modeling experts to discuss the problem. Workshop participants included colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore Lab, Los Alamos Lab, Pacific Northwest Lab, Stanford, the University of Texas at Austin, The University of Bergen, The University of Stuttgart, BP, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The workshop was a strong success, with participants agreeing to work collectively on the Alberta field site, and to reconvene in about one year to see what progress has been made.