From the Nano- to the Formation Scale: Accessible Reactive Surface Area in a CO2 Saline Reservoir

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Alexander Swift1, David R Cole2, Julia Meyer Sheets2 and Lawrence M Anovitz3, (1)Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States, (2)Ohio State University Main Campus, Columbus, OH, United States, (3)ORNL U Tennessee, Oak Ridge, TN, United States
Among the outstanding subsurface science challenges today is the translation of our improved understanding of pore-scale reactive transport and bench-scale geochemical rates of reaction to the prediction of long-term formation response to the sequestration of carbon dioxide. The emergent complexity of CO2-brine-rock interactions, on a large scale, over long periods of time (up to 1000 years) arises from a number of imperfectly understood factors. Of these, the accessibility of reactive surfaces distinguishes natural materials from powders commonly used in reaction rate studies, and geologic heterogeneity requires a workflow that connects samples, not to depths, but to material types that, combined, constitute a subsurface formation.
 To this end, core samples targeting every lithology type (quartz arenite, quartz-feldspar arenite, hematitic matrix-rich sandstone, clay-silt lens) observed in two bore holes through the Mt. Simon Sandstone of Ohio have been interrogated. Small- and ultra small-angle neutron scattering (SANS, USANS) and mercury and gas porosimetry (MICP, BET) have been used to quantify pore and pore throat distributions, and therefore pore volume accessibility at any given intrusion pressure. Mineral surface area is calculated using high-resolution SEM-BSE imagery combined with energy dispersive X-ray mineral mapping, and then extended beyond the limit of image-based techniques by using BET estimates for specific minerals. Combined, these datasets enable the quantification of mineral-specific, connected surface area as a function of pore/fracture scale. This is a defining feature of a pore-mineral assemblage, the microanalysis analogue of a macroscale lithology. The whole formation is then reconstructed by connecting pore-mineral assemblages to lithologies, defined by permeability/porosity and by mineralogy, and these in turn to the whole vertical extent of the formation using coarser-scale images of whole core. This effort therefore contributes both to the nanoscale analysis of accessible reactive surface area, and to the rapid application of such an analysis to the formation scale.