MRCSP is building on the work it started during the Phase II, Validation Phase of the U.S DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program, by initiating a new Phase III, or Development Phase, project in Otsego County, Michigan. For this phase, carbon dioxide will be injected into a small number of oil fields within a geologic formation known as the northern Niagaran pinnacle reef trend (Figure 1).
The northern Niagaran pinnacle reef trend is comprised of closely spaced but highly-compartmentalized pinnacle reefs located about 6,000 feet below the surface. This formation got its start as a series of coral reefs that formed millions of years ago in a setting similar to what we now observe in the Bahamas or Great Barrier Reef.
Since the reefs formed, sediments and other debris were deposited in layers around and above the reefs. Substantial quantities of oil and gas have been produced from these ancient reefs since the 1960’s. Today many of the reefs are at or near their economic limit for primary production of oil and gas. However, it is estimated that in Northern Michigan alone, such reefs could sequester several hundred million metric tons of carbon dioxide and, when combined with enhanced oil recovery (EOR), could provide economic benefit through incremental oil production that would otherwise not be recoverable. The geologic column in Figure 2 is a conceptual illustration of an EOR project in one of these reef structures.
Research Project Design and Benefits
This project is designed to inject one million metric tons of carbon dioxide during a span of roughly four years. This project will leverage existing EOR operations to inject carbon dioxide into a small number of oil fields located within the Niagaran pinnacle reef trend in order to assess potential storage capacity, validate the computer models of the subsurface geology, identify the most cost-effective monitoring techniques for this type of formation, and to develop system wide information to further our understanding of other similar rock formations throughout the region. In addition, the project will provide valuable information about utilization and storage of the carbon dioxide using enhanced oil recovery.
The carbon dioxide for this test is a by-product from natural gas processing and is being captured at a nearby carbon dioxide drying and compression facility (CF). It will be carried from the CF through an existing pipeline network and injected into wells that are regulated by US EPA’s Region 5 and by the State of Michigan. MRCSP will be doing testing and monitoring before and after injection.
As new information about this project becomes available, additional details will be included as a series of project snapshots
posted in this section of the web site. A fact sheet providing a mid-course review of the research is available here.
This project is largely funded by DOE through a cooperative agreement with Battelle. It also includes significant participation from Core Energy and geologists from the Michigan Geological Survey based in the Geosciences Department at Western Michigan University and the Michigan Office of Oil Gas and Minerals (formerly the Michigan Geological Survey).