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Development of methods for gaseous phase geochemical monitoring on the surface and in the intermediate overburden strata of geological CO2 storage sites

Abstract : The developments and results presented in this paper are taken from the work carried out as part of the GeoCarbon-Monitoring project, which was partly funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). An important part of this project covers methods for gas monitoring on the surface as well as within the cap rock of geological CO2 storage sites. The work undertaken by INERIS was targeted at two specific approaches which are often recommended as essential for the monitoring of future storage sites : early detection (pre-alert), based on the sampling and analysis of gas at the bottom of the dedicated boreholes which are drilled from the surface into the intermediate cap rock strata ; the detection and quantification of the gaseous flux of CO2 released from the ground into the atmosphere. These two approaches were developed in the laboratory successively and then applied and tested in-situ, under conditions that are as close as possible to those of the future storage sites. They offer the advantage of ensuring a direct measurement as well as providing real-time information on the presence or, on the contrary, the absence of CO2 leaks. The tests undertaken on a 200 meter deep borehole have shown that the detection of CO2 leaks passing through the intermediate overburden strata was possible thanks to the continuous sampling and analysis of the composition of the gas which accumulated at the bottom of the borehole. In particular, the detection of small releases of gas emanating from the surrounding rock gave rise to a number of good results. These releases may be a precursor to a larger leak. Likewise, it has been possible to take a sample and ensure the transit of gas over long distances, up to 1000 meters from the sampling point. This was done without causing any significant deformation or dilution of the initial gaseous signal, even for low amplitude leaks. These results allow us to envisage the implementation of a relatively simple system for detecting and monitoring gas leaks through intermediate cap rock strata. This system will largely comprise conventional industrial gas sensors which are available off the shelf. The direct measurement of gas flows emanating from the ground is one of the most effective ways to monitor a storage site. The INERIS accumulation chamber method has been improved to measure low and very low CO2 flux rates. It can now be used to measure a wide range of CO2 flux rates, from very low emission levels of 0.05 to 0.2 cm3.min-1.m-2 up to extremely high flux rates of some 3000 cm3.min-1.m-2. The accuracy and operational characteristics of chamber method have been checked and validated by tests performed in a laboratory and on a test rig, as well as through field measurements taken under real conditions at sites that naturally release CO2. These tests have shown that the method has reached full technical maturity and that it can be applied on a practical level to detect and monitor CO2 and methane emissions on the ground's surface. The two methods which have been tested are now operational and ready for integration into the surveillance strategy applied at future CO2 storage sites. They can be used at every stage of a storage site's life : site reconnaissance, definition of the initial state, injection, post-injection phase, and residual monitoring after the site has been abandoned.
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Zbigniew Pokryszka, Arnaud Charmoille, Gaëtan Bentivegna. Development of methods for gaseous phase geochemical monitoring on the surface and in the intermediate overburden strata of geological CO2 storage sites. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2010, 65 (4), pp.653-666. ⟨10.2516/ogst/2009084⟩. ⟨ineris-00961751⟩

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