Evaluation of Brine Migration Risks Due to CO2 Injection – an Integrated Natural and Social Science Modeling Approach

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Vera Noack1, Alexander Kissinger2, Holger Class2, Stefan Knopf1, Wilfried Konrad3 and Dirk Scheer3, (1)BGR Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Hannover, Germany, (2)Institut for Hydraulic Engineering, Hydromechanics and Modelling of Hydrosystems, Stuttgart, Germany, (3)Dialogik, Stuttgart, Germany
Evaluation of possible risks for shallow groundwater systems caused by brine displacement due to CO2 injection requires an investigation of possible vertical pathways in regional-scale structural settings. The project CO2BRIM investigates this crucial issue in collaboration with external stakeholders to integrate expert feedback on migration scenarios. To evaluate possible brine displacement scenarios we construct a regional-scale 3D structural model based on data which represent a typical geological setting of the North German Basin. The model has a horizontal size of 39 km times 58 km and includes 11 geological layers from the Permian Zechstein salt up to the Quaternary. It comprises an anticlinal structure on top of a salt pillow and an elongated salt wall that dissect the overburden. For the risk scenarios we include discontinuities in the regionally important Rupelian aquitard (Tertiary) and a transition zone along the salt flank as such discontinuities are supposed to provide permeable pathways for brines which could reach shallow drinking water horizons. Based on this model we develop scenarios in which we vary for example hydro-geological parameters of the geological discontinuities, the injection rate and the initial state of the system in terms of the salinity distribution. Furthermore we compare different levels of model complexity with regard to the physical processes considered and their effects on our results. During the process of scenario development, external experts were invited to participate and share knowledge and concerns on both brine migration risks and possible migration paths and mechanisms.

The results may help in site selection as they provide improved knowledge of pressure build-up in the reservoir and the overburden for such complex geological systems. Additionally, we want to identify the level of model complexity which is sufficient for this kind of setting with regard to the limited data availability at hand for the far field.