Fate(s) of Injected CO₂ in a Coal-Bearing Formation, Louisiana, Gulf Coast Basin: Chemical and Isotopic Tracers of Microbial-Brine-Rock-CO₂ Interactions
AuthorShelton, Jenna Lynn
AdvisorMcIntosh, Jennifer C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCoal beds are one of the most promising reservoirs for geologic carbon dioxide (CO₂) sequestration, as CO₂ can strongly adsorb onto organic matter and displace methane; however, little is known about the long-term fate of CO₂ sequestered in coal beds. The "2800' sand" of the Olla oil field is a coal-bearing, oil and gas-producing reservoir of the Paleocene–Eocene Wilcox Group in north-central Louisiana. In the 1980s, this field, specifically the 2800' sand, was flooded with CO₂ in an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project, with 9.0×10⁷m³ of CO₂ remaining in the 2800' sand after injection ceased. This study utilized isotopic and geochemical tracers from co-produced natural gas, oil and brine from reservoirs located stratigraphically above, below and within the 2800' sand to determine the fate of the remaining EOR-CO₂, examining the possibilities of CO₂ migration, dissolution, mineral trapping, gas-phase trapping, and sorption to coal beds, while also testing a previous hypothesis that EOR-CO₂ may have been converted by microbes (CO₂-reducing methanogens) into methane, creating a microbial "hotspot". Reservoirs stratigraphically-comparable to the 2800' sand, but located in adjacent oil fields across a 90-km transect were sampled to investigate regional trends in gas composition, brine chemistry and microbial activity. The source field for the EOR-CO₂, the Black Lake Field, was also sampled to establish the δ¹³C-CO₂ value of the injected gas (0.9‰ +/- 0.9‰). Four samples collected from the Olla 2800' sand produced CO₂-rich gas with δ¹³C-CO₂ values (average 9.9‰) much lower than average (pre-injection) conditions (+15.9‰, average of sands located stratigraphically below the 2800' sand in the Olla Field) and at much higher CO₂ concentrations (24.9 mole %) than average (7.6 mole %, average of sands located stratigraphically below the 2800' sand in the Olla Field), suggesting the presence of EOR-CO₂ and gas-phase trapping as a major storage mechanism. Using δ¹³C values of CO₂ and dissolved organic carbon (DIC), CO₂ dissolution was also shown to be a major storage mechanism for 3 of the 4 samples from the Olla 2800' sand. Minor storage mechanisms were shown to be migration, which only affected 2 samples (from 1 well), and some EOR-CO₂ conversion to microbial methane for 3 of the 4 Olla 2800' sand samples. Since methanogenesis was not shown to be a major storage mechanism for the EOR-CO₂ in the Olla Field (CO₂ injection did not stimulate methanogenesis), samples were examined from adjacent oil fields to determine the cause of the Olla microbial "hot-spot". Microbial methane was found in all oil fields sampled, but indicators of methanogenesis (e.g. alkalinity, high δ¹³C-DIC values) were the greatest in the Olla Field, and the environmental conditions (salinity, pH, temperature) were most ideal for microbial CO₂ reduction in the Olla field, compared to adjacent fields.
Degree ProgramGraduate College