Regional Characterization

Regional Characterization

MRCSP continues to develop a detailed assessment of the Region’s geologic sequestration potential through geological characterization efforts. To accomplish this task MRCSP’s geologic team includes experts from all ten states in the MRCSP region (Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). In addition, MRCSP works with MRCSP members and other companies actively working in the region to gather geological data through sharing or piggybacking operations. Lastly, the Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO) is providing co-funding for two regional characterization projects. The overall goal of the first project - Defining CO₂ Storage Options in the Upper Ohio River Valley – Advanced Characterization of Geologic Reservoirs and Caprocks - is to collect and analyze geologic data for assessment of CO₂ storage feasibility in Eastern Ohio. Through cost share provided by MRCSP, the study area has been expanded to include counties in neighboring states. The overall goal of other OCDO project - CO2 Utilization for Enhanced Oil Recovery and Geologic Storage in Ohio - is to develop process understanding and evaluate technical and economic feasibility of CO2-EOR and storage in depleted oil fields within Ohio. MRCSP is contributing to the integration of source‐sink matching work with regional evaluations being carried out within the MRCSP project area.


MRCSP Geologic Team

The Midwest Regional Carbon-Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) Phase-I geologic team conducted a preliminary assessment of the region’s geologic CO₂ sequestration potential for the Paleozoic geologic sequence in Indiana, eastern Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and for Cenozoic-age strata in the Maryland coastal plain. Nine potential reservoir, and five potential confining cap-rock intervals (this includes organic shales) were identified, their structure, depth, and thickness mapped, and other physical and chemical data pertinent to CO₂ sequestration compiled. A comprehensive series of digital maps and tabular databases were constructed to facilitate regional sequestration planning and modeling.

Initial mapping indicated that well-defined, deep saline formations within the MRCSP region could potentially sequester several hundred billion metric tons of CO₂. The estimated CO₂ storage resource is very large compared to the present-day emissions, enough to accommodate CO₂ emissions from large stationary sources for hundreds of years. Saline formations in the MRCSP region are widespread, close to many large CO₂ sources, and are thought to have large pore volumes available for injection use. However, CO₂ sequestration capacity is not evenly distributed across the region. The Phase I Final Report on Characterization of Geologic Sequestration Opportunities in the MRCSPRegion can be accessed by clicking this link

During Phase II, MRCSP continued to refine and increase understanding of the region’s geologic storage potential. The Phase II geologic team was led by Ohio Division Geological Survey, as well as Kentucky Geological Survey - University of Kentucky, Indiana Geological Survey, Maryland Geological Survey, New Jersey Geological Survey, New York State Museum Institute, Pennsylvania Geological Survey, Rutgers University, West Virginia Geological Survey, and Western Michigan University. The MRCSP geology team conducted regional characterization of the following geologic formations: Upper Cambrian/Mount Simon Sandstone; Middle Silurian-Middle Devonian units; oil and gas/enhanced oil recovery fields; Middle and Upper Devonian shales; and unmineable coal beds/enhanced coal bed methane recovery.
Phase II efforts further confirmed the potential for storing at least a century’s worth of carbon dioxide emissions from all the region’s major sources of carbon dioxide. While saline formations have the greatest sequestration capacity, the geologic characterization work also underscored opportunities for enhanced oil recovery and storage in the region. A summary report and five topical reports documenting the results of these efforts are now available for viewing here.

During Phase III, the MRCSP geologic team expanded to include the Delaware Geological Survey. Collectively, members are working on the following activities:
  • developing more accurate storage capacity estimates for Cambro-Ordovician reservoirs, including the Trenton Limestone/Black River Group, St. Peter Sandstone, Knox carbonates and their equivalent stratigraphic counterparts from well log data
  • analyzing existing Cambrian-Ordovician rock samples to provide insight into what types of geologic control and reservoir petrophysical characteristics impact CO₂ infectivity;
  • characterizing Silurian Pinnacle Reef Trend reservoirs in Michigan;
  • evaluating onshore reservoirs and traps from New Jersey to Maryland to clarify locations that may hold potential for CCS;
  • integrating seismic and well logs in order to evaluate potential CCS reservoirs and traps in the offshore area
  • continuing to correct, verify and update information in the PA*IRIS/WIS (Pennsylvania’s Internet Record Imaging System/Wells Information System) database to aid in assessing CCUS opportunities in the region;
  • continuing to collect data on Marcellus formation tops, digital geophysical logs, total organic carbon (TOC) data, and bulk density data to evaluate storage and enhanced gas recovery for organic shale; and
  • continuing data mining and collection from available sources to develop the geospatial database to serve as a regional implementation planning tool.
The MRCSP geology team developed an interactive mapping tool which can be accessed here that allows the user to select areas within the region and explore CO₂ sources and sinks. The rock layers within these large regional structures can be further divided into formations, based on observable rock characteristics. A formation has a distinctive composition and texture that is extensive enough to be mapped, allowing geologists to trace geologic strata across wide distances. The thickness of formations may range from less than a meter to several thousand meters. Deep saline rock formations like the Mt. Simon Sandstone and the St Peter Sandstone are among the largest CO₂ storage resources in the region.

As a member of the Eastern Gas Shales Project (EGSP) research consortium, the Pennsylvania Geological Survey (PaGS) established a basic subsurface stratigraphy of the Middle and Upper Devonian section organic-rich black shales in Pennsylvania using gamma-ray wireline logs. Since 2004, thousands of shale gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania, generating renewed interest in the lithostratigraphy, mineralogy, and thermal maturity of the Marcellus and other organic-rich shales. The modern downhole geophysical log data associated with these shale gas completions has facilitated a deeper dive into the lithostratigraphy of both the Marcellus Formation and shallower Middle and Upper Devonian shales. As part of Pennsylvania’s ongoing research – namely, interpreting and mapping the lithostratigraphy of organic-rich shales for enhanced gas recovery potential using carbon dioxide – Pennsylvania is building on EGSP and subsequent work. Additional geophysical logs and related data for ~3,500 wells in 41 counties has been interpreted to resolve Devonian shale to the formation and/or member level. New cross sections showing the reinterpreted stratigraphy for the western and northern portions of Pennsylvania can be downloaded here; here; here; herehere; here; and here.

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