Moving forward, the Storage Group as a whole would like to expand its interaction with industry- and government-sponsored field projects. Our researchers are already involved to some degree with BP’s In Salah project in Algeria, the Weyburn EOR project in Saskatchewan, the Mountaineer injection project in West Virginia, and the Rocky Mountain Oil Testing Center. With expanded access and resources, our team could gather more detailed field data to rigorously test our models and increase our confidence in leakage predictions.

Detailed monitoring data for individual wells would be particularly useful for enhancing our understanding of cement-brine interactions and leakage risks. Closely linking modeling with field experiments in which material (both fluid and solid) behavior along at least one well could be monitored in detail, or experiments could be performed along the inside and outside of an existing (abandoned) well, would provide much-needed ground truth for our simulation efforts.

Given realistic data sets, our models could also help explain injection behavior and optimize future injection projects. For example, the new geochemical capacity of our Dynaflow model allows us to model salt precipitation, which may be contributing to higher-than expected injection pressures in the In Salah storage project. In addition, Dynaflow can be used to investigate the best way to maximize CO2 storage in an aquifer, for example by simulating the effectiveness of pulsed versus constant injection.