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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On producing CO 2 from subsurface reservoirs: simulations of liquid-gas phase change caused by decompression

  • Author(s): Oldenburg, C;
  • Pan, L;
  • Zhou, Q;
  • Dobeck, L;
  • Spangler, L
  • et al.

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Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) extraction from deep reservoirs is currently important in CO 2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and may become more important in the future if interim CO 2 storage becomes common. In late 2014, we were involved in a production test of liquid CO 2 from the Middle Duperow dolostone at Kevin Dome, Montana. The test resulted in lowering the temperature at the well bottom to ∼2 °C, and showed that the well and reservoir had very low CO 2 productivity. We have used the CO 2 modeling capabilities of the TOUGH codes to simulate the test and to show that liquid CO 2 in the reservoir changes to gas phase as the pressure is lowered in the well during production testing. The associated phase change and decompression combine to drastically lower the bottom-hole temperature, creating the potential for water ice or CO 2 hydrate to form. By hypothesizing a relatively high-permeability damage zone near the well surrounded by lower permeability reservoir rock, we can match the observed pressure, temperature, and production rate. Moving from the Kevin Dome test to the question of CO 2 extraction from deep reservoirs in general, we carried out a parametric study to investigate the effects of reservoir depth and transmissivity on CO 2 production rate for a prototypical reservoir. Simulations show that depth and high transmissivity favor productivity. Complex phase changes within the ranges of P-T encountered in typical CO 2 production wells affect production rates. The results of our parametric study may be useful for the preliminary feasibility assessment of CO 2 extraction from deep reservoirs. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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