Laboratory Mid-frequency (Kilohertz) Range Seismic Property Measurements and X-ray CT Imaging of Fractured Sandstone Cores During Supercritical CO2 Injection

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 4:37 PM
Seiji Nakagawa1, Timothy J Kneafsey1, Chun Chang1 and Elizabeth Harper2, (1)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States, (2)Treadwell and Rollo, Oakland, United States
During geological sequestration of CO2, fractures are expected to play a critical role in controlling the migration of the injected fluid in reservoir rock. To detect the invasion of supercritical (sc-) CO2 and to determine its saturation, velocity and attenuation of seismic waves can be monitored. When both fractures and matrix porosity connected to the fractures are present, wave-induced dynamic poroelastic interactions between these two different types of rock porosity—high-permeability, high-compliance fractures and low-permeability, low-compliance matrix porosity—result in complex velocity and attenuation changes of compressional waves as scCO2 invades the rock.

We conducted core-scale laboratory scCO2 injection experiments on small (diameter 1.5 inches, length 3.5–4 inches), medium-porosity/permeability (porosity 15%, matrix permeability 35 md) sandstone cores. During the injection, the compressional and shear (torsion) wave velocities and attenuations of the entire core were determined using our Split Hopkinson Resonant Bar (short-core resonant bar) technique in the frequency range of 1–2 kHz, and the distribution and saturation of the scCO2 determined via X-ray CT imaging using a medical CT scanner. A series of tests were conducted on (1) intact rock cores, (2) a core containing a mated, core-parallel fracture, (3) a core containing a sheared core-parallel fracture, and (4) a core containing a sheared, core-normal fracture.

For intact cores and a core containing a mated sheared fracture, injections of scCO2 into an initially water-saturated sample resulted in large and continuous decreases in the compressional velocity as well as temporary increases in the attenuation. For a sheared core-parallel fracture, large attenuation was also observed, but almost no changes in the velocity occurred. In contrast, a sample containing a core-normal fracture exhibited complex behavior of compressional wave attenuation: the attenuation peaked as the leading edge of the scCO2 approached the fracture; followed by an immediate drop as scCO2 invaded the fracture; and by another, gradual increase as the scCO2 infiltrated into the other side of the fracture. The compressional wave velocity declined monotonically, but the rate of velocity decrease changed with the changes in attenuation.