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Multi-method virtual electromagnetic experiments for developing suitable monitoring designs: A fictitious CO2 sequestration scenario in Northern GermanyNormal access

Authors: J.H. Börner, F. Wang, J. Weißflog, M. Bär, I. Görz and K. Spitzer
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 63, No 6, November 2015 pp. 1430 - 1449
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12299
Organisations: Wiley
Special topic: CSEM
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 6.65Mb )

We present a numerical study for 3D time-lapse electromagnetic monitoring of a fictitious CO2 sequestration using the geometry of a real geological site and a suite of suitable electromagnetic methods with different source/receiver configurations and different sensitivity patterns. All available geological information is processed and directly implemented into the computational domain, which is discretized by unstructured tetrahedral grids. We thus demonstrate the performance capability of our numerical simulation techniques. The scenario considers a CO2 injection in approximately 1100 m depth. The expected changes in conductivity were inferred from preceding laboratory measurements. A resistive anomaly is caused within the conductive brines of the undisturbed reservoir horizon. The resistive nature of the anomaly is enhanced by the CO2 dissolution regime, which prevails in the high-salinity environment. Due to the physicochemical properties of CO2, the affected portion of the subsurface is laterally widespread but very thin. We combine controlled-source electromagnetics, borehole transient electromagnetics, and the direct-current resistivity method to perform a virtual experiment with the aim of scrutinizing a set of source/receiver configurations with respect to coverage, resolution, and detectability of the anomalous CO2 plume prior to the field survey. Our simulation studies are carried out using the 3D codes developed in our working group. They are all based on linear and higher order Lagrange and N´ed´elec finite-element formulations on unstructured grids, providing the necessary flexibility with respect to the complex real-world geometry. We provide different strategies for addressing the accuracy of numerical simulations in the case of arbitrary structures. The presented computations demonstrate the expected great advantage of positioning transmitters or receivers close to the target. For direct-current geoelectrics, 50% change in electric potential may be detected even at the Earth’s surface. Monitoring with inductive methods is also promising. For a well-positioned surface transmitter, more than 10% difference in the vertical electric field is predicted for a receiver located 200 m above the target. Our borehole transient electromagnetics results demonstrate that traditional transient electromagnetics with a vertical magnetic dipole source is not well suited for monitoring a thin horizontal resistive target. This is due to the mainly horizontal current system, which is induced by a vertical magnetic dipole.

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