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A Prototype Near-Field GIS Model to Characterize Acute Risks of Sequestered CO2 Release Through Orphan Wells
Kenneth T. Bogen1, Frank J. Gouveia,2 Lee A. Neher,3 Steven G. Homann4
1University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Energy and Environment Directorate (L-396), Livermore, California, U.S.A.; Present address: Exponent, Inc., Oakland, California, U.S.A.
2University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Energy and Environment Directorate (L-396), Livermore, California, U.S.A.
3University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Energy and Environment Directorate (L-396), Livermore, California, U.S.A.
4University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Safety and Environmental Protection Directorate, Livermore, California, U.S.A.
This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by the University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), under contract W-7405-Eng-48, with support from the LLNL Carbon Management Program.
Characterization of terrain-specific risk posed by potential future CO2 release from orphan wells remains a major carbon storage technology gap. For such wells, risk analysis has focused on aggregate long-term future impacts of seepage at rates on the order of 1 g/m2 per day on storage goals but not of potential future large-scale venting through overlooked unsealed orphan wells, which may dominate CO2-loss scenarios. Flux measures made on Crystal Geyser, in Utah, indicate that such loss could range from 10 to 100,000 kg/day per site, and so is acutely hazardous in unfavorable meteorological and terrain circumstances. To characterize potential risk from such abrupt discharges, a prototype heavy-gas near-field dispersion model was coupled to a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) algorithm to evaluate terrain-related impacts on lethal downwind CO2 concentration as a function of wind speed. By eliminating low-risk areas, application of the risk model to a potential sequestration site in west-central Indiana allowed a 30-fold gain in the cost effectiveness of surveying the site for unsealed orphan wells. After improvements to better model near-field CO2 dispersion in complex terrains, this type of approach could be used to rapidly screen large areas proposed for future CO2 sequestration for relative potential risk, and thereby prioritize them to design, or comply with, regulatory risk management goals.
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