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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Time-lapse 3-D electrical resistance tomography inversion for crosswell monitoring of dissolved and supercritical CO2 flow at two field sites: Escatawpa and Cranfield, Mississippi, USA

  • Author(s): Commer, M;
  • Doetsch, J;
  • Dafflon, B;
  • Wu, Y;
  • Daley, TM;
  • Hubbard, SS
  • et al.

In this study, we advance the understanding of three-dimensional (3-D) electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) for monitoring long-term CO2 storage by analyzing two previously published field time-lapse data sets. We address two important aspects of ERT inversion-the issue of resolution decay, a general impediment to the ERT method, and the issue of potentially misleading imaging artifacts due to 2-D model assumptions. The first study analyzes data from a shallow dissolved-CO2 injection experiment near Escatawpa (Mississippi), where ERT data were collected in a 3-D crosswell configuration. We apply a focusing approach designed for crosswell configurations to counteract resolution loss in the inter-wellbore area, with synthetic studies demonstrating its effectiveness. The 3-D field data analysis reveals an initially southwards-trending flow path development and a dispersing plume development in the downgradient inter-well region. The second data set was collected during a deep (over 3 km) injection of supercritical CO2 near Cranfield (Mississippi). Comparative 2-D and 3-D inversions reveal the projection of off-planar anomalies onto the cross-section, a typical artifact introduced by 2-D model assumptions. Conforming 3-D images from two different algorithms support earlier hydrological investigations, indicating a conduit system where flow velocity variations lead to a circumvention of a close observation well and an onset of increased CO2 saturation downgradient from this well. We relate lateral permeability variations indicated by an independently obtained hydrological analysis to this consistently observed pattern in the CO2 spatial plume evolution.

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