The Otway Stage 2C project, a research project of CO2CRC, has released findings from its underground carbon capture and storage (CCUS) project.

For the project, CO2CRC injected 15,000 tonnes of CO2 approximately 1,500 meters underground at its Otway National Research Facility located in Nirranda South, Victoria.

The CO2 was injected into a saline aquifer between December 2015 and April 2016. The CO2 plume was then detected and tracked during the injection and in the years after.

The monitoring was done primarily using an array of geophone receivers buried under the surface to detect the seismic signal pair with conventional vibriosis where a seismic signal is produced by a truck-mounted seismic vibrator. 

Surface orbital vibrators were also successfully trialled as a seismic signal source enabling monitoring data to be acquired continuously.

The research, led by Curtin University and supported by CSIRO and Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, demonstrated that a small amount of CO2, can be detected using seismic monitoring tool and its movement underground successfully mapped. 

“The ability to reliably predict the movement of CO2 and optimise the use of seismic monitoring to validate the plume migration path will be invaluable to CCS project operators around the world,” said David Byers, CEO of CO2CRC.

“Our success with the Stage 2C project in observing the behaviour of a small CO2 plume and understanding the resolution and sensitivity of seismic monitoring has paved the way for CO2CRC’s biggest project to date: Otway Stage 3.”

In 2019, work on Otway Stage 3 began with the expansion of infrastructure at the Otway National Research Facility through the drilling of four new 16,000-metre-deep monitoring equipped with the latest technologies in fibre optics sensing and subsurface gauges.

Otway Stage 3 will demonstrate the next generation of sub-surface monitoring technologies and improve the efficiency of storage monitoring. These new technologies provide data quicker and cost significantly less than the seismic surveys currently used with initial estimates showing cost savings of 75%.”

A workflow for verifying the stabilisation of the CO2 plume using seismic data and dynamic modelling has been developed under Stage 2C and will be tested in the next phase of the project, expected to be completed by June 2020.

“Our hope is that the applied scientific technology research conducted at CO2CRC’s Otway National Research Facility will lead to more CCS projects around the world, allowing CCS to play a vital role in meeting the dual challenge of reducing emissions across all major industry sectors while meeting the growing global demand for affordable and reliable energy.”

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