Carbon capture and storage (CCS) presents a key solution to reducing emissions especially from stationary power and industrial sites. A major component of CCS is CO2 storage in geologic formations, including saline aquifers, presents a great opportunity for the oil and gas industry to capitalize on their subsurface expertise to ensure that CO2 is stored safely underground over the long term. Saline aquifers are particularly relevant in the Middle East, where hydrocarbon reservoirs may not be at high depletion stages and so may not be available for CO2 storage yet. This paper looks at key geologic formation considerations related to CO2 storage in saline aquifers, highlighting the static and dynamic characteristics of the rock and the fluids that determine how much CO2 can be stored and at what injection rate. It also highlights how these characteristics affect the economics of the subsurface component of a CCS project.

This paper shall provide an overview of the key aspects that guide subsurface storage evaluations: containment ability, trapping mechanisms, storage capacity, and injectivity. It will highlight the different storage capacity assessment methods. Then it shall discuss resource classification and categorization, and determination of commerciality as per the SPE CO2 Storage Resources Management System (SRMS). Finally, the paper goes into further considerations that need to be taken into account beyond the initial screening, including the data acquisition program and the impact of CO2 stream impurities on storage potential, geologic formation properties and cap rock integrity.

The work illustrates the importance of understanding the physics of CO2 injection into a water-bearing system and lays out considerations for screening potential saline aquifer sites from a reservoir engineering perspective. The screening process should evaluate the anticipated CO2 trapping mechanism, assure its ability to contain the injected fluids over the long term, and estimate its storage capacity and injectivity.

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