The geologic and economic analysis of stacked CO₂ storage systems : a carbon management strategy for the Texas Gulf Coast
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Stacked storage systems are a viable carbon management operation, especially in regions with potential growth in CO₂ enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects. Under a carbon constrained environment, the industrial Texas Gulf Coast is an ideal area for development of stacked storage operations, with a characteristically high CO₂ intensity and abundance of aging oil fields. The development of EOR along the Texas Gulf Coast is limited by CO₂ supply constraints. A stacked storage system is implemented with an EOR project to manage the temporal differences between the operation of a coal-fired power plant and EOR production. Currently, most EOR operations produce natural CO₂ from geologic formations. A switch to anthropogenic CO₂ sources would require an EOR operator to handle volumes of CO₂ beyond EOR usage. The use of CO₂ in an EOR operation is controlled and managed to maximize oil production, but increasing injection rates to handle the volume of CO₂ captured from a coal plant can decrease oil production efficiency. With stacked storage operations, a CO₂ storage reservoir is implemented with an EOR project to maintain injection capacity equivalent to a coal plant's emissions under a carbon constrained environment. By adding a CO₂ storage operation, revenue can still be generated from EOR production, but it is considerably less than just operating an EOR project. The challenge for an efficient stacked storage project is to optimize oil production and maximize profits, while minimizing the revenue reduction of pure carbon sequestration. There is an abundance of saline aquifers along the Texas Gulf Coast, including the Wilcox, Vicksburg, and Miocene formations. To make a stacked storage system more viable and reduce storage costs, maximizing injectivity is critical, as storage formations are evaluated on a cost-per-ton injected basis. This cost-per-ton injected criteria, also established as injection efficiency, incorporates reservoir injectivity and depth dependant drilling costs to determine the most effective storage formation to incorporate with an EOR project. With regionally adequate depth to maximize injectivity while maintaining reasonable drilling costs, the Vicksburg formation is typically the preferred storage reservoir in a stacked storage system along the Texas Gulf Coast. Of the eleven oil fields analyzed on a net present value basis, the Hastings field has the greatest potential for both EOR and stacked storage operations.