NETL Development of Monitoring Technologies


By James Craig

29 August 2019

During the CCUS meeting organised by NETL, a series of sessions on the development of monitoring technologies, are being held.NELT is supporting a series of R&D projects to develop and test monitoring technologies which can detect the presence of CO2 in the subsurface.US national research labs including Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkely (LBNL) and Los Alamos are currently developing these technologies and evaluating their performance at the CaMI site in Canada and at the Otway test facility in Australia.For example LBNL is using a combination of electro-magnetic (EM) and seismic monitoring techniques to measure pore-fluid saturation at the CaMI site.In this case one down-hole instrument sends signals from one well which can be detected by another down-hole sensor simultaneously moved at the same height in an observation well.By measuring changes in the electro-magnetic field, and seismic response, it is possible to detect changes in pore fluid saturation before and after CO2 is released into the formation.In another case surface generated seismic waves are detected by a down-hole distributed acoustic sensor (DAS) fibre optic array.Comparison of pre-injection baseline, and post-injection conditions, can be used to image changes caused by the presence of CO2. The technique applied at Otway can be remotely operated by LBNL thousands of miles away.

The continuing development of these sophisticated monitoring techniques will enable operators to monitor future storage sites and provide assurance that should leakage occur it can be detected and immediate remedial action taken.The work also demonstrates what international co-operation in R&D can achieve.Visits to sites such as CaMI, coupled with network meetings organised by IEAGHG, helps to communicate to fellow researchers, and potential operators, what contemporary achievements have been made and their relevance to future secure CO2 storage.

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