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Open-File Report 2015–1079

Carbon Dioxide Storage in Unconventional Reservoirs Workshop: Summary of Recommendations

By Kevin B. Jones and Madalyn S. Blondes

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (213 KB)Introduction

“Unconventional reservoirs” for carbon dioxide (CO2) storage—that is, geologic reservoirs in which changes to the rock trap CO2 and therefore contribute to CO2 storage—including coal, shale, basalt, and ultramafic rocks, were the focus of a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) workshop held March 28 and 29, 2012, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The goals of the workshop were to determine whether a detailed assessment of CO2 storage capacity in unconventional reservoirs is warranted, and if so, to build a set of recommendations that could be used to develop a methodology to assess this storage capacity. Such an assessment would address only the technically available resource, independent of economic or policy factors. At the end of the workshop, participants agreed that sufficient knowledge exists to allow an assessment of the potential CO2 storage resource in coals, organic-rich shales, and basalts. More work remains to be done before the storage resource in ultramafic rocks can be meaningfully assessed.

In order to assess the CO2 storage capacity of coals and organic-rich shales, the workshop participants agreed that the following several factors are key: sorption mechanisms and capacity, pore fluid composition and saturation, thermal maturity, formation thickness, and whether hydrocarbons have been extracted from the formation previously (for example, by enhanced gas or oil recovery).

In order to assess the CO2 storage capacity of basalts, the workshop participants agreed that key factors include temperature, pressure, pH, water chemistry, mineral chemistry, organic content, mineralogy, porosity, permeability, relative permeabilities, and CO2 phase.

The storage capacity for all unconventional reservoirs may be modeled using a volumetric equation starting with the extent of the rock unit and adjusted using these key factors and reaction terms. The ideas that were developed during this workshop can be used by USGS scientists to develop a methodology to assess the CO2 storage resource in unconventional reservoirs. This methodology could then be released for public comment and peer review. After completing this development process, the USGS could then use the methodology to assess the CO2 storage resource in unconventional reservoirs.

First posted June 16, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Director, Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
National Center, MS 913
Reston, VA 20192

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Suggested citation:

Jones, K.B., and Blondes, M.S., 2015, Carbon dioxide storage in unconventional reservoirs workshop—Summary of recommendations: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1079, 10 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)



Coal and Organic-Rich Shale

Basalts and Ultramafic Rocks


References Cited

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