Characteristics of Salt-Precipitation and the Associated Pressure Build-Up during CO 2 Storage in Saline Aquifers

Kue Young Kim, Weon Shik Han, Junho Oh, Taehee Kim, Jeong Chan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Mitigation and control of borehole pressure at the bottom of an injection well is directly related to the effective management of well injectivity during geologic carbon sequestration activity. Researchers have generally accepted the idea that high rates of CO 2 injection into low permeability strata results in increased bottom-hole pressure in a well. However, the results of this study suggested that this is not always the case, due to the occurrence of localized salt precipitation adjacent to the injection well. A series of numerical simulations indicated that in some cases, a low rate of CO 2 injection into high permeability formation induced greater pressure build-up. This occurred because of the different types of salt precipitation pattern controlled by buoyancy-driven CO 2 plume migration. The first type is non-localized salt precipitation, which is characterized by uniform salt precipitation within the dry-out zone. The second type, localized salt precipitation, is characterized by an abnormally high level of salt precipitation at the dry-out front. This localized salt precipitation acts as a barrier that hampers the propagation of both CO 2 and pressure to the far field as well as counter-flowing brine migration toward the injection well. These dynamic processes caused a drastic pressure build-up in the well, which decreased injectivity. By modeling a series of test cases, it was found that low-rate CO 2 injection into high permeability formation was likely to cause localized salt precipitation. Sensitivity studies revealed that brine salinity linearly affected the level of salt precipitation, and that vertical permeability enhanced the buoyancy effect which increased the growth of the salt barrier. The porosity also affected both the level of localized salt precipitation and dry-out zone extension depending on injection rates. High temperature injected CO 2 promoted the vertical movement of the CO 2 plume, which accelerated localized salt precipitation, but at the same time caused a decrease in the density of the injected CO 2. The combination of these two effects eventually decreased bottomhole pressure. Considering the injectivity degradation, a method is proposed for decreasing the pressure build-up and increasing injectivity by assigning a 'skin zone' that represents a local region with a transmissivity different from that of the surrounding aquifer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-418
Number of pages22
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by the project entitled ‘Development of supercritical CO2 injection system for geologic storage’ funded by ‘Korea Research Council Industrial Science & Technology’ and the Basic Research Project of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) funded by the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy of Korea. We also thank a financial support partly by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Start-Up funding.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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