R. E. Burger Site - Validation Phase

R.E. Burger - Validation Phase

The MRCSP completed its geologic sequestration field demonstration in the Appalachian Basin at FirstEnergy’s R.E. Burger electric power plant near Shadyside, Ohio during the period summer 2006 to fall 2009. The R.E. Burger Plant is located along the Ohio River Valley, an area of the MRCSP region containing multiple large sources of CO₂. The Appalachian Basin consists of sedimentary rock formations, including some that may have potential for the safe and permanent storage of CO₂. The test results are being used to develop best practices and to better understand the sequestration potential of the region.

The demonstration involved a test injection of a small volume of carbon dioxide within deep sandstone and carbonate formations that contain brine water. Specific geologic formations that were assessed include the Oriskany Sandstone, the Salina Formation, and the Clinton Sandstone, which are located between 5,900 and 8,300 feet below the surface. The State of Ohio has regulatory oversight over injection wells in the state. The deep rock formations tested were saturated with dense brine, not suitable for drinking, and are well below drinking water sources, which are typically less that several hundred feet below the surface.

MRCSP, Battelle and DOE are currently preparing a detailed report of the field test at the R.E. Burger site. The analysis of the R.E. Burger data will improve site evaluation methods, allow the fine tuning of predictive computer models, and improve storage capacity estimates both regionally and nationwide. The most recent activities are shown in the project snapshot below. 
Please click on these links to see additional information about the Appalachian Basin field test including the project briefing, the project fact sheet, the press release issued by FirstEnergy, and communications materials FirstEnergy shared with the neighbors located near the project.

Project Snapshots

Spring 2009

This project provided valuable geologic understanding and “lessons learned” within an area of the Appalachian Basin that has few existing deep wells for geologic characterization. This snapshot provides a brief update on what is happening at the site and what has been learned. It describes the basic approach to testing and monitoring and provides a preliminary review of the results. A more detailed scientific report on the testing at Burger will be prepared later by Battelle as part of its MRCSP reporting.

The R.E. Burger Plant was chosen as a Phase II small-scale validation test site because of its location central to one of the nation’s major power generation corridors, the Ohio River Valley, and because it was expected to provide access to geologic formations having significant expected storage capacity across the region. Excellent cooperation provided by host FirstEnergy and the potential to co-locate an injection test project at a coal-fired power plant were also factors. Early in the planning process there was also the potential for linking the injection test with a pilot demonstration of a developmental capture process at the site.

The injection tests at the R.E. Burger site revealed that the three targeted geologic formations did not have sufficient porosity and permeability at this site for completing the small-scale injection of 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide as planned. Because rock properties can vary due to the complex nature of the formations within the basin, the lack of injectivity at this particular location for these three formations does not preclude the presence of suitable formations in other locations within the Appalachian Basin. The results from this test will be shared so that the region willbenefit from the experience gained during the extensive drilling, formation evaluation, and testing.

Basic Approach to Testing and Monitoring
The basic approach to testing and monitoring, illustrated in the graphic above, involved the following steps:

1. Based on readily available information about the region, a conceptual model was developed to evaluate the site’s potential for geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. MRCSP used reservoir test methods that are similar to those used by oil companies in oil and gas production but included special features to account for geology and behavior of carbon dioxide in the ground.

2. During the site characterization, the test well was drilled to collect sitespecific data. Sidewall core samples and direct measurements from the well were taken and analyzed to determine porosity, permeability and other relevant information. (Click here for pictures of drilling and core sample collection.)

3. The data collected from the test well were used to develop pressure-response curves to estimate the injectivity of the reservoirs. The results of the design calculations indicated that rapid pressure buildup could potentially be expected.

4. The carbon sequestration test was conducted; the pressure buildup within the formation was carefully monitored. The design calculations were compared to test results to assess the predictive capability for carbon dioxide injection in porous rock.
Site Characterization Results

In early 2007, MRCSP drilled a borehole to a depth of 8,300 feet to collect wireline logs and core samples of promising rock layers within the Appalachian Basin. The following graphs show the porosity logs from the Oriskany Sandstone and the Clinton Sandstone.
In addition, rock samples from the Salina Formation were analyzed. This layer had the highest porosity of the three layers sampled. The results indicated porosity ranging from 2 to 10%. While this level of porosity could be suitable for injection, actual injection tests were needed to confirm the suitability (i.e., permeability) of these formations for carbon dioxide injection.

Test Well Design

Based on the site characterization, a well was completed to allow injection into three potential storage reservoirs: the Clinton Sandstone (about 8,200 feet deep), the Salina Formation (about 6,900 feet deep); and the Oriskany Sandstone (about 5,900 feet deep) (see the graphic below).
After the permit was issued, the test rig and injection equipment were brought to the test site as shown to the right. Injection began on September 23, 2008, with the objective of sequentially evaluating the three identified zones. The project goal was to inject up to 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide across these target reservoirs during a period of four to six weeks. The commercial grade carbon dioxide was trucked in with tanker trucks. The injection trailer provided pumping and heating to deliver the carbon dioxide at the correct wellhead pressure and temperature for injection. The injection well is behind the injection trailer, with the service rig mast visible on the right hand side of the photo.
The trailer-mounted annulus fluid injection and maintenance system is on the left and in the background is the Praxair carbon dioxide injection trailer which includes the heater and high pressure carbon dioxide pump. A unique automated annular monitoring and injection system was designed and tested at this site. This prototype annular monitoring system performed well, and is being refined further for several other MRCSP sequestration projects.
The coriolis meter shown here was capable of directly measuring the density and mass flow rate of the carbon dioxide into the well. The instrument included built in totalizers that summed the flow rate over time. The meter was found to be stable and easy to set up in the field.

Preliminary Results

Characterization methods (mud logging, rock core tests, wireline logging) may only provide indicators of injectivity. Injection potential needs to be proven with field injection tests. At the R.E. Burger site, the field tests revealed that the porosity (void space) and permeability of the target formations were lower than expected. Pressure in the wells built up very quickly for relatively small flow rates of water or carbon dioxide in each target zone at the site. In other words, there was insufficient injectivity at the three tested storage reservoirs to enable injection of the originally planned injection of 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
This site highlights the value of these smaller, research-oriented tests, which do not involve large capital investment compared to full-scale application. Despite the lack of injectivity, the drilling and testing at the R.E. Burger Plant provided valuable information on the feasibility of carbon dioxide injection across a range of rock properties. When combined with the information from other MRCSP and national test sites, the data collected at the site will be used to help improve site characterization methods and better understand regional geology for sequestration potential.

Specifically, the results:

1. contribute to improved mapping and increased knowledge of the geology and injection acceptability of layers present at the R.E. Burger site.
2. contribute to increased knowledge of the carbon dioxide injection process, and
3. help to fine-tune predictive computer models and estimates of potential storage capacity.

Next Steps

During the next couple months a final decision will be made about whether to undergo permanent “plugging and abandonment” or attempt additional well stimulation methods or exploring deeper rock layers. Any activity done at this well will be conducted under the guidance of Ohio EPA and the existing injection permit (or a new one if required).

In addition, as discussed previously, Battelle is preparing a detailed scientific report regarding the testing at the R.E. Burger plant. The report will ultimately be available to the public. For further information, DOE has also published a “Techline” briefing entitled “Small-Scale Carbon Sequestration Field Test Yields Significant Lessons Learned”. The briefing can be accessed by clicking here.

Fall 2008

The Fall 2008 Snapshot described what what would take place during the injection test. The full snapshot is archived and can be accessed by clicking this link.

Spring 2008

The Spring 2008 Snapshot showed pictures of the of the public information meeting conducted in conjunction with the permit review. Several materials were shared at the meeting and can be accessed through the links below. The full snapshot is archived and can be accessed by clicking this link

The meeting materials included the following:
1st Quarter 2007 – Construction of the Test Well

The 1st Quarter 2007 Snapshot showed pictures of the injection well being constructed. The full snapshot is archived and can be accessed by clicking this link.

July 2006

The July 2006 Snapshot showed pictures of the seismic survey being conducted in the area around the R.E. Burger plant. It also included links to a video and the DOE Techline report on the seismic survey that can be access through the links below. The full snapshot is archived and can be accessed by clicking this link.

Watch a movie on how a seismic survey is being conducted.
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