Battelle has announced the beginning of a large-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) injection by the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) program in the oil fields of Michigan’s Northern Reef Trend. The current project in Michigan is designed to inject and monitor at least one million metric tons of CO2 into a series of oil fields that are in different stages of their production life-cycles.

The first test in the series will inject up to 500,000 metric tons of CO2 into a 6,000 ft deep, depressurized, late-stage oil field that has undergone primary production and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for several years and is now near the end of its productive life. Such late-stage fields are ideal for conducting research on monitoring and modeling of CO2 storage and evaluating incremental production of residual oil still trapped in the pore spaces. 

The MRCSP is one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships in the United States established by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). This multi-year research program led by Battelle will identify, test and further develop the best approaches to CO2 utilization and storage in the nine-state region in the Midwest and Northeast U.S. encompassed by MRCSP. This significant milestone builds on the work completed by MRCSP’s industry and research members during earlier phases of the program that included smaller-scale testing and mapping of geologic formations across the region.

During the last year, Battelle's MRCSP team has worked with Core Energy, LLC, the owner and operator of the oil fields, to conduct baseline geologic characterization and advanced monitoring and to prepare the wells for the injection phase. These fields already are permitted for injection as part of the routine EOR operations. In this first leg of the field test, MRCSP expects injection rates of approximately 1,000 metric tons of CO2 per day.

MRCSP will be using state-of-the-art techniques to track the CO2 and quantify the amount that is retained in the formation after the oil is removed - during and after the active injection phase. The CO2 will be injected into the geologic structures known as the northern Niagaran pinnacle reef trend. These oil fields comprise closely spaced but highly-compartmentalized ancient coral reefs buried about 6,000 feet below the ground surface. This reef trend formed millions of years ago when the area was under an ocean in a setting similar to what is now observed in the Great Barrier Reef.

For more information, visit www.battelle.org.