Lessons Learned: The First In-Situ Laboratory Fault Injection Test
12 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 1, 2021
[enter Abstract Body]The CSIRO In-Situ Laboratory has been a world first injection of CO2 into a large faulted zone at depth. A total of 38 tonnes of CO2 was injected into the F10 fault zone at approximately 330 m depth and the process monitored in detail. The site uses a well, Harvey-2, in SW Western Australia (the South West Hub CCS Project area). The top 400 m section of Harvey-2 was available for injection and instrumentation. An observation well, ISL OB-1 (400 m depth) was drilled 7 m to the north east of Harvey-2. ISL OB-1 well was cased with fibreglass to provide greater monitoring options. The CSIRO In-Situ Laboratory was designed to integrate existing facilities and infrastructure from the South West Hub CCS Project managed by the West Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. While new equipment was deployed for this specific project, the site facilities were complemented by a range of mobile deployable equipment from the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL).
The geology of the area investigated poses interesting challenges: a large fault (F10) is estimated to have up to 1000 m throw overall, the presence of packages of paleosols rather than a contiguous mudstone seal, and a 1500 m vertical thickness of Triassic sandstone as the potential commercial storage interval. This unique site provides abundant opportunities for testing more challenging geological environments for carbon storage than at other sites.
While details of this first project are described elsewhere, lessons were learned during the development and execution of the project. A rigorous risk register was developed to manage project risk, but not all events encountered were foreseen. This paper describes some of the challenges encountered and the team’s response.
Relocation of the project site due to changes in landholder ownership) and other sensitivities resulted in the need for rapid replanning of activities at short notice resulting in the development of the site at Harvey-2. The relocation allowed other research questions to be addressed through new activities, such as the ability to consider a shallow/controlled release experiment in an extensive fault zone, but this replanning did cause some timing stress. The first test at the In-Situ Laboratory was reconfigured to address some of those knowledge gaps that shallow/controlled release experiments had yet to address. Novel approaches to drilling and completing the monitoring well also threw up unanticipated difficulties. Loss of containment from the wellbore also posed significant challenges, and the team’s response to this unintended release of gas and water from the monitoring well at the conclusion of the field experiment will be discussed. Other challenges that we encountered, their impacts, and our response are also catalogued here (Table 1 and below) to enable broad knowledge exchange.
Keywords: shallow release, controlled release, fault zone, DAS, DTS, leakage, South West Hub, fault injection, CCS
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