Reaction and diffusion at the reservoir/shale interface during CO2 storage: Impact of geochemical kinetics

Victor N. Balashov, George D. Guthrie, Christina L. Lopano, J. Alexandra Hakala, Susan L. Brantley

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27 Scopus citations


We use a reactive diffusion model to investigate what happens to CO2 injected into a subsurface sandstone reservoir capped by a chlorite- and illite-containing shale seal. The calculations simulate reaction and transport of supercritical (SC) CO2 at 348.15K and 30MPa up to 20,000 a. Given the low shale porosity (5%), chemical reactions mostly occurred in the sandstone for the first 2000 a with some precipitation at the ss/sh interface. From 2000 to 4000 a, ankerite, dolomite and illite began replacing Mg-Fe chlorite at the sandstone/shale interface. Transformation of chlorite to ankerite is the dominant reaction occluding the shale porosity in most simulations: from 4000 to 7500 a, this carbonation seals the reservoir and terminates reaction. Overall, the carbonates (calcite, ankerite, dolomite), chlorite and goethite all remain close to local chemical equilibrium with brine. Quartz is almost inert from the point of its dissolution/precipitation. However, the rate of quartz reaction controls the long-term decline in aqueous silica activity and its evolution toward equilibrium. The reactions of feldspars and clays depend strongly on their reaction rate constants (microcline is closer to local equilibrium than albite). The timing of porosity occlusion mostly therefore depends on the kinetic constants of kaolinite and illite. For example, an increase in the kaolinite kinetic constant by 0.25 logarithmic units hastened porosity closure by 4300 a. The earliest simulated closure of porosity occurred at approximately 108 a for simulations designed as sensitivity tests for the rate constants.These simulations also emphasize that the rate of CO2 immobilization as aqueous bicarbonate (solubility trapping) or as carbonate minerals (mineral trapping) in sandstone reservoirs depends upon reaction kinetics - but the relative fraction of each trapped CO2 species only depends upon the initial chemical composition of the host sandstone. For example, at the point of porosity occlusion the fraction of bicarbonate remaining in solution depends upon the initial Na and K content in the host rock but the fraction of carbonate mineralization depends only on the Ca, Mg, Fe content. Since ankerite is the dominant mineral that occludes porosity, the dissolved concentration of ferrous iron is also an important parameter. Future efforts should focus on cross-comparisons and ground-truthing of simulations made for standard case studies as well as laboratory measurements of the reactivities of clay minerals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Geochemistry
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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