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Environment and sustainability

Carbon capture and storage

CO2CRC Otway stage 3 project: Borehole-based monitoring.

CO2CRC’s Otway Stage 3 M&V Project will develop and commercialise next generation subsurface Monitoring and Verification (M&V) technologies for CO2 subsurface storage.

The project focuses on the injection of Buttress gas into the Paaratte Aquifer and the testing of the Monitoring and Verification (M&V) techniques to measure and track plume propagation in the subsurface. The additional testing of non-core techniques such as passive seismic and interferometry, pressure inversion, earth tides and EM subsurface monitoring are also being carried out.

The Curtin team in the Otway Stage 3 Project will evaluate the downhole seismic monitoring (vertical seismic profiling (VSP) using well-based distributed acoustic sensors (DAS) and permanently deployed seismic sources known as surface orbital vibrators (SOV).

These technologies provide on-demand, permanent monitoring solutions, enabling continuous plume data acquisition, transmission and analysis. They are expected to drive down costs by up to 75% while also decreasing environmental footprint of traditional monitoring techniques.

The proposed M&V techniques will provide regulators and communities with ongoing confidence that CO2 injected deep underground is permanently stored within the bounds of the storage formation in large scale Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) projects.

For more information, see here.

Funded by: CO2CRC Ltd.

Researchers:Prof. Roman Pevzner, Prof. Andrej Bona, Prof. Boris Gurevich, Dr. Stanislav Glubokovskikh, Dr. Konstantin Tertyshnikov, Dr. Sinem Yavuz, Dr. Alexey Yurikov, Murray Hehir, Dominic Howman, Sofya Popik, Roman Isaenkov, Evgenii Sidenko

Monitoring of CO2 stored in a deep saline formation (CO2CRC Otway Project – Stage 2C)

Time-lapse (4D) seismic monitoring of injected CO2 in geological formations is being increasingly employed as the principal method for ensuring containment of the COand testing conformance of predicted plume behaviour. However, to bring further confidence in this method, the CO2 volume detection limit in the seismic monitoring and key factors controlling it need to be quantitatively understood. Stage 2C of the CO2CRC Otway Project attempts to improve this understanding by exploring the capability of seismic reflection method to detect and monitor a 15 ktonnes injection of supercritical CO2 / CH4 mixture in a saline aquifer at a depth of 1,500 m.

The monitoring program consists of time-lapse 3D seismic surveys using a buried geophone array, time-lapse 3D vertical seismic profiling (VSP) and offset VSP. Seismic acquisition was carried out at injection intervals of 5, 10 and 15 ktonnes over a five-month period and, also, 9 and 23 months after the end of injection. The time-lapse seismic images clearly show the distribution and evolution of the stored CO2 / CH4 plume. The results demonstrate the potential of time-lapse reflection seismic to provide key information to both operators and regulators for confirming the security and behaviour of stored CO2 at very small volumes.

For more information, see here.

Funded by: CO2CRC Ltd.

Researchers: Prof. Roman Pevzner, Dr. Stanislav Glubokovskikh, Prof. Maxim Lebedev, Prof. Milovan Urosevic, Prof. Andrej Bona, Dr. Konstantin Tertyshnikov, Mr. Sasha Ziramov, Prof. Boris Gurevich, Dr. Sinem Yavuz, Murray Hehir, Dominic Howman, Lee Ignacio, Sofya Popik, Evgenii Sidenko

CO2CRC testing helically wound cable performance

The main objective of this project is to test Helically Wound Cables (HWC) vs Straight Fibre Optics (SFO) acting as Distributed Acoustic Sensors (DAS) in comparison with geophones for detecting seismic signals to ultimately monitor the CO2 plume underground. The injection will be monitored by a range of techniques as per original scope of the Otway Stage 3 Project, including surface and downhole seismic. This HWC-test allows a new receiver technology to be tested and benchmarked.

CO2CRC is procuring and deploying the HWC with input and design specifications from Curtin University and TOTAL. The HWC is deployed in the trench of the newly constructed gathering line connecting the gas supply from the CRC-2 to CRC-3 wells in February 2020. The project is externally funded by TOTAL.

A baseline surface seismic survey was acquired in March 2020 and the plan is to use this seismic operation to test HWCs. The acquired data is jointly processed by TOTAL and Curtin University.

This phase is called Phase O of the HWC-Test project and might be extended by further phases. The intention is to optimize the HWC parameters such as deployment methodology, angle, soil moisture, coupling materials, etc (as reasonably determined by the project team) and assess its suitability for CO2 plume imaging.

A potential follow-up project would involve more extensive deployment of HWCs using the optimised parameters in order to be used in the subsequent Stage 3 seismic surveys (after injection of 5,000 and 15,000 tonnes) to image the injected plume and compare the performance of HWCs vs conventional geophones for imaging an underground CO2 plume.

Funded by CO2CRC Ltd. and TOTAL

Researchers: Dr. Konstantin Tertyshnikov, Prof. Roman Pevzner

Feasibility of passive seismic and temperature monitoring using cemented fibre optic cable in Harvey-3 well

Installation of fibre optic sensors in a well can be utilised to monitor the subsurface changes related to the production of a resource or geosequestration. Abandonment of previously drilled wells is a costly operation involving plugging those with cement and removal of all the infrastructure. Distributed fibre optic sensors deployed in an abandoned well have the potential to transform it into a permanent sensor array. This enables monitoring of the cementation process as well as future changes in the subsurface by recording such parameters as strain, temperature and vibration caused by natural or induced seismicity.

The project investigates the potential of this technology through passive seismic data analysis acquired in the Harvey 3 well (South West CCS Hub, Western Australia) using distributed acoustic sensing a year after the well decommissioning. The well has become the first Australian demonstration of such transformation leading to wider use of permanent fibre optic installation during the well abandonment.

Funded by Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) Australia

Researchers: Prof. Roman Pevzner, Dr. Konstantin Tertyshnikov

In-situ laboratory to de-risk commercial deployment of carbon storage

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) approach remain one of the most considerable among the industrial initiative for decreasing the atmospheric concentration of the greenhouse gases. Assurance of storage safety is a paramount part of the process to maintain a community operations licence. The ability to understand the migration behaviour of COin the shallow subsurface and faults is essential for leakages detection and mitigation. As a part of the first shallow controlled-release test within the In Situ Laboratory Project at the Harvey-2 site, a comprehensive seismic monitoring program were designed by the Curtin University geophysics team.

The project utilises a few wells for the intended tests and trials. The Harvey-2 well is a stratigraphic well that is previously acquired through the geological characterisation program of the South West Hub CCS initiative. The well is 400 m deep and transformed to be employed as an injector. A new geophysical monitoring/observation well was drilled ~6 m to north-east from the injection well and it has fiberglass casing and ~370 m deep. A variety of permanent geophysical sensors are installed in both deep wells. The Harvey-2 well instrumented with a fibre optic cable (with single and multimode cores) deployed on a production tubing and a set of pressure gauges. The monitoring well has a number of receivers cemented behind the casing: a fibre optic cable with single and multimode cores for the distributed acoustic and temperature measurements, eight three-component geophones and thirty-two electrodes.

Injection into the fault zone of ~40 tons of food grade carbon dioxide has been completed into a six meters perforated interval at a depth of 336-342 m. The injection was performed over a period of five days. Such small quantities of CO2 simulate a scenario of an unwanted out-of-storage leakage along a fractured zone. The monitoring program was intended to designed and demonstrate an effective solution that has the ability to detect and trace this small amount of gas and could provide informed measures for regulators and the public about the storage safety assurance.

The borehole time-lapse seismic approach in offset geometry using fibre optic sensors has clearly demonstrated a robust detection of as little as 38 tons of carbon dioxide injected at the depth of ~350 m during the first test of the controlled-release experiment in a fault zone at the South West Hub In-Situ Laboratory site. The results suggest that the downhole seismic monitoring strategy in walk-away/offset layouts in combination with fibre optic receivers cemented in a set of observation wells provides a reliable and cost-effective surveillance solution for early warnings in an event of an unwanted leakage of gas from a CO2 reservoir. This knowledge will allow regulators to make informed decision to ensure the safety of the carbon dioxide storages.

Funded by CSIRO. The In-Situ Lab project is co-funded by the Australian Government through the Commonwealth Carbon Capture and Storage Research Development and Demonstration Fund CCS49360. The authors wish to acknowledge the incorporation in this report of results from projects funded by Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research and Development (ANLEC R&D). ANLEC R&D is supported by Australian Coal Association Low Emissions Technology Limited and the Australian Government through the Clean Energy Initiative.

Researchers: Dr. Konstantin Tertyshnikov, Prof. Roman Pevzner, Mr. Murray Hehir, Roman Isaenkov, Evgenii Sidenko

Curtin in-situ GeoLab: novel fibre optic technology for global geoscience applications

The main objective of the project is the development of the comprehensive in-situ geolaboratory at Curtin campus (Curtin In-Situ GeoLab) based on the existing NGL Well Facility. Fundamental evaluation of the geological formations surrounding the Curtin/NGL well is required to build the basis for the laboratory. Such a study to be conducted using downhole seismic techniques with conventional geophones and distributed acoustic sensing (DAS). Vertical seismic profiling (VSP) approach using various offsets allows to record seismic downhole data to characterise sediments, estimate anisotropy of the strata and image geological structures around the bore. The collected dataset will form a benchmark basis for future research opportunities in the development of new downhole instruments and global geoscience projects.

An additional 3D VSP survey will be carried out using Curtin/NGL well to deploy high frequency seismic source and a dense patch of geophones deployed on the surface around the well. This dataset will provide high resolution image of the geological setting around the bore and a trial for the fast monitoring approach for shallow geosequestration projects. These studies will greatly complement the development of the Curtin In-Situ GeoLab towards a complete world class research facility. The project pursuing several Strategic aims: establish an in-situ geolaboratory at the Curtin campus as a facility for the development of novel technologies; for the increase international visibility of the existing Curtin/NGL facility; create the complete a comprehensive evaluation of media around the well.

Funded by Curtin University via Small Grants Program

Researchers: Dr. Konstantin Tertyshnikov, Prof. Roman Pevzner, Murray Hehir, Roman Isaenkov, Evgenii Sidenko, Sana Zulic, Alexey Yurikov, Dr Stanislav Glubokovskikh

Prediction and verification of shallow CO2 migration

Predicting the influence of geological faults on the migration of injected CO2 is important for understanding long-term safe CO2 storage.

In partnership with industry and research partners, CO2CRC is developing and testing new methods to predict CO2 migration pathways in the near surface to enable enhanced modelling of stored CO2 behaviour. The primary interest is to identify fault-bound structure traps and investigate the risks of vertical migration through fault zones.

The project involves site characterisation around a shallow fault at the CO2CRC Otway National Research Facility, to determine its suitability for hosting a small controlled release of a CO2 into the fault.  This includes how the CO2 would spread, dissolve and react, whether the injected CO2 could be detected and how these factors could be best monitored and tracked.

The site characterisation around a shallow fault (Brumby’s fault) at the Otway site is completed and in 2019 two appraisal wells were drilled and cored through the shallow fault. The work undertaken to date by Geoscience Australia for this project confirms that the site is suitable for hosting a small (~10 tones) controlled release of a CO2 into the fault.

The techniques employed by the Curtin team includes:

  • ultra-high resolution shallow focused 3D seismic
  • electrical resistivity imaging
  • core flooding and geomechanical analysis
  • nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in wells to determine porosity and estimate vertical permeability assessment of core
  • a survey using 3D laser scanning or LiDAR from a light plane to map surface features

The injection and verification phase of the project is subject to funding and dates for the execution have not yet been set. This final phase will use geophysical and environmental monitoring techniques to image the migration of a small slow release of CO2 up a shallow fault.

For more information, see here.

Funded by Geoscience Australia, CO2CRC Ltd. and partners.

Researchers: Prof. Roman Pevzner, Prof. Brett Harris, Dr. Stephanie Vialle, Dr. Stanislav Glubokovskikh, Dr. Konstantin Tertyshnikov


East Midlands hydrogeology from AEM

Researchers: Prof. Brett Harris, Dr. Andrew Pethick

Groundwater replenishment stage 1 geophysical and petrophysical evaluation of recharge into the Yarragadee at Beenyup Project

Researchers: Prof. Brett Harris, Prof. Maxim Lebedev, Prof. Milovan Urosevic, Dr. Vassili Mikhaltsevitch, Dr. Andrew Squelch, Dr. Michael Carson, Mr. Alex Costall, Mr. Murray Hehir

Hydrogeophysics in the subsurface water supply and management workflow

Researchers: Prof. Brett Harris, Mr. Sasha Ziramov, Dr. Andrew Pethick, Mr. Murray Hehir, Mr. Dominic Howman, Mr. Lee Ignacio

High resolution seismic for the Peel Integrated Water Initiative

Researchers: Prof. Brett Harris, Dr. Andrew Pethick, Mr. Sasha Ziramov, Mr. Lee Ignacio

Ord – Bonaparte hydrogeophysics

Researchers: Prof. Brett Harris, Dr. Andrew Pethick, Mr. Lee Ignacio, Mr. Murray Hehir, Mr. Dominic Howman