Simulation-based forecasting and monitoring of subsurface behaviour of carbon dioxide

Accurate simulation, forecasting, and monitoring of carbon dioxide behaviour / plume spreading in the complex subsurface is a prerequisite for safe and cost-effective high-volume CO2 abatement. Supporting the Australian primary- and energy sector industries in this quest, with tools and expertise that will transform traditional discipline-separated sequential workflows boosting productivity, is the goal of this geology - reservoir engineering - hydro-geophysics - simulation- guided engineering R&D and field-application project, delivering new GPU parallel multi-physics - complex geometry software tools integrating: 1) space-time adaptive forward simulation of the CO2 injection process including forecasting of geophysical plume signatures, 2) inverse-modelling and 3) simulation-driven design of monitoring systems, 4) a software framework for visualisation and analysis. The tools will be validated with datasets from injection experiments at Otway, Aquistore and a Chinese CCS site. Field applications will revisit site characterisation and geomodelling, contributing to an improved understanding of the Australian subsurface.

The project is an international multidisciplinary collaboration of specialists at the universities of Melbourne (UoM), Queensland (UQ), and Savoie Mont-Blanc (ISTERRE & CNRS), focusing on improving the understanding of how CO2 behaves during geo-sequestration in the Australian subsurface and how this behaviour can be monitored. The project will also generate state-of-the-art software tools and workflows for performance assessment of storage sites and these will be tested by application to 3 key pilot sites (Figure 1).

Figure: Simulation set-up of HeuristicModel1 for forward simulation of geophysical signatures. The shaded box shows the extent of the model and the gray-scale slab represents the aquifer horizon into which the CO2 is injected. Fluid pressure is displayed using a translucent rainbow scheme and a snapshot of the CO2 plume is displayed using volume rendering. The green colour corresponds to a CO2 saturation of ~0.3.

Figure: Dilatation – vertical stress slice of a 3-way closure fault-footwall anticline CO2 buoyancy trap filled with a CO2 column of 300m. Maximum ground deflection induced by CO2 charge = 1.8cm. Simulation with CSMP++ CO2 geo-sequestration simulator; results benchmarked with Abaqus™.