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Effect of salinity on supercritical CO2 permeability of caprock in deep saline aquifers: An experimental study

Jayasekara, D.W., Ranjith, P.G., Wanniarachchi, W.A.M., Rathnaweera, T.D., Chaudhuri, A.
Energy 2020 v.191 pp. 116486
aquifers, carbon dioxide, cations, chemical analysis, elemental composition, ion exchange, minerals, permeability, salinity
The permanence of injected CO₂ in deep saline aquifers mainly depends on caprock permeability. Thus, the main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of salinity level in the formation fluid on permeability of siltstone when advective flow of scCO₂ is dominant. Siltstone caprock samples were fully saturated with different synthetic brines, which were similar to natural formation fluids. A chemical analysis was conducted for each saturated rock and brine samples to recognize the geo-chemical equilibrium between the formation fluid and caprock since the identification of final brine composition in rock pores is crucial to predict the possible interactions with scCO₂ flow. Interestingly, the results show that the caprock is subjected to dissolution during saturation due to ion exchange between caprock minerals and cations in the pore fluid changing the brine elemental composition. The scCO₂ permeability experiments were conducted for each saturated sample using a core flooding apparatus for a series of injection pressures. According to the results, scCO₂ permeability significantly reduces at high salinity concentrations in brine due to deposition of different types of evaporites in rock pores which significantly depends on the elemental concentration of brine and caprock-brine interaction. It is known as CO₂ dry-out phenomenon.