Fate of injected CO2 in the Wilcox Group, Louisiana, Gulf Coast Basin: Chemical and isotopic tracers of microbial-brine-rock-CO2 interactions

Jenna L. Shelton, Jennifer C. McIntosh, Peter D. Warwick, Amelia Lee Zhi Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The "2800' sandstone" of the Olla oil field is an oil and gas-producing reservoir in a coal-bearing interval of the Paleocene-Eocene Wilcox Group in north-central Louisiana, USA. In the 1980s, this producing unit was flooded with CO2 in an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project, leaving ~30% of the injected CO2 in the 2800' sandstone post-injection. This study utilizes isotopic and geochemical tracers from co-produced natural gas, oil and brine to determine the fate of the injected CO2, including the possibility of enhanced microbial conversion of CO2 to CH4 via methanogenesis. Stable carbon isotopes of CO2, CH4 and DIC, together with mol% CO2 show that 4 out of 17 wells sampled in the 2800' sandstone are still producing injected CO2. The dominant fate of the injected CO2 appears to be dissolution in formation fluids and gas-phase trapping. There is some isotopic and geochemical evidence for enhanced microbial methanogenesis in 2 samples; however, the CO2 spread unevenly throughout the reservoir, and thus cannot explain the elevated indicators for methanogenesis observed across the entire field. Vertical migration out of the target 2800' sandstone reservoir is also apparent in 3 samples located stratigraphically above the target sand. Reservoirs comparable to the 2800' sandstone, located along a 90-km transect, were also sampled to investigate regional trends in gas composition, brine chemistry and microbial activity. Microbial methane, likely sourced from biodegradation of organic substrates within the formation, was found in all oil fields sampled, while indicators of methanogenesis (e.g. high alkalinity, δ13C-CO2 and δ13C-DIC values) and oxidation of propane were greatest in the Olla Field, likely due to its more ideal environmental conditions (i.e. suitable range of pH, temperature, salinity, sulfate and iron concentrations).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-169
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Volume51
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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