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AAPG Bulletin, Preliminary version published online Ahead of Print 1 October 2022.

Copyright © 2022. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Swelling-induced self-sealing mechanism in fractured caprock: implications for carbon geo-sequestration

Hongyan Yu12 , Yihuai Zhang3 , Maxim Lebedev2 , Xiaolong Li1 , Zhenliang Wang1 , Michael Verrall4 , Andrew Squelch25 , and Stefan Iglauer6

1 State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics and National and Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Carbon Capture Utilization and Sequestration, Department of Geology, Northwest University, Xi'an, 710069, China
2 WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering, Curtin University, 26 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington 6151, Australia
3 Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London, SW7 2BP, UK
4 Earth Sciences and Resource Engineering, CSIRO, 26 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington 6151, Australia
5 Computational Image Analysis Group, Curtin Institute for Computation, Curtin University, 26 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington 6151, Australia
6 School of Engineering, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup 6027, Australia

Ahead of Print Abstract

Carbon dioxide geo-sequestration (CGS) in geological formations is a technology which can drastically reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The CO2 injected into such storage formations is trapped beneath a caprock, and it is thus obvious that caprock sealing efficiency is an essential factor for secure CO2 storage. However, the exact effect of supercritical (sc) CO2 exposure to microfractured clay-rich shale caprock – note that shale caprock commonly contains microfractures – is only poorly understood. We thus imaged fractured caprock shale samples before and after scCO2 injection via X-ray micro-computed tomography at high resolution in 3D - (3.43 μm)3 and representative reservoir conditions (i.e. a high pressure of 15 MPa, and an elevated temperature of 50 ℃). Clearly, the fractures closed when flooded with scCO2, which was most likely induced by clay swelling. As a consequence, the fracture permeability dramatically decreased, significantly increasing containment security and de-risking CGS projects.

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Please cite this AAPG Bulletin Ahead of Print article as:

Hongyan Yu , Yihuai Zhang , Maxim Lebedev , Xiaolong Li , Zhenliang Wang , Michael Verrall , Andrew Squelch , Stefan Iglauer: Swelling-induced self-sealing mechanism in fractured caprock: implications for carbon geo-sequestration, (in press; preliminary version published online Ahead of Print 01 October 2022: AAPG Bulletin, DOI:10.1306/09232219136.