Interaction Between CO2-Rich Sulfate Solutions and Carbonate Reservoir Rocks from Atmospheric to Supercritical CO2 Conditions: Experiments and Modeling

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Jordi Cama, Maria Garcia-Rios, Linda Luquot and Josep M Soler Matamala, IDAEA-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain
A test site for CO2 geological storage is situated in Hontomín (Spain) with a reservoir rock that is mainly composed of limestone. During and after CO2 injection, the resulting CO2-rich acid brine gives rise to the dissolution of carbonate minerals (calcite and dolomite) and gypsum (or anhydrite at depth) may precipitate since the reservoir brine contains sulfate. Experiments using columns filled with crushed limestone or dolostone were conducted under different P-pCO2 conditions (atmospheric: 1-10-3.5 bar; subcritical: 10-10 bar; and supercritical: 150-34 bar), T (25, 40 and 60 ºC) and input solution compositions (gypsum-undersaturated and gypsum-equilibrated solutions). We evaluated the effect of these parameters on the coupled reactions of calcite/dolomite dissolution and gypsum/anhydrite precipitation. The CrunchFlow and PhreeqC (v.3) numerical codes were used to perform reactive transport simulations of the experiments.

Under the P-pCO2-T conditions, the volume of precipitated gypsum was smaller than the volume of dissolved carbonate minerals, yielding an increase in porosity (Δporosity up to ≈ 4%).

A decrease in T favored limestone dissolution regardless of pCO2 owing to increasing undersaturation with decreasing temperature. However, gypsum precipitation was favored at high T and under atmospheric pCO2 conditions but not at high T and under 10 bar of pCO2 conditions. The increase in limestone dissolution with pCO2 was directly attributed to pH, which was more acidic at higher pCO2.

Increasing pCO2, carbonate dissolution occurred along the column whereas it was localized in the very inlet under atmospheric conditions. This was due to the buffer capacity of the carbonic acid, which maintains pH at around 5 and keeps the solution undersaturated with respect to calcite and dolomite along the column.

1D reactive transport simulations reproduced the experimental data (carbonate dissolution and gypsum precipitation for different P-pCO2-T conditions). Drawing on reaction rate laws in the literature, we used the reactive surface area to fit the models to the experimental data. The values of the reactive surface area were much smaller than those calculated of the geometric areas.