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Amarasinghe et al. (2020)

UNCOVER - Understanding of CO2 dissolution in oil by convection-driving mixing and wettability alteration

What we do

Project UNCOVER has focused on experimental investigation and visualization of CO2 mixing with reservoir fluids (water and oil). Many experiments available in the literature have been conducted using surrogate fluids or using CO2 at room conditions. Furthermore, visual investigation of CO2 mixing with oil is very limited. Hence, we have designed and carried out a series of experiments to visualize CO2 mixing in water and oil (both individually and together) with and without presence of the porous media.

Why is this important?

The global warming rate can be limited by drastically reducing Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next few decades through Carbon, Capture, and Storage (CCS). As evaluations of CCS initiated it was suggested to implement geological CO2 storage by injection into hydrocarbon reservoirs and deep saline aquifers. When CO2 is injected into aquifers/oil fields for permanent storage and enhanced oil recovery purposes, CO2 plume mixes with the fluid phases (water and oil) present in the reservoir. The CO2 dissolution initiated by the diffusion will increase the density of the liquid-phase, and thereby accelerate the convective flow of CO2. This phenomenon will significantly enhance the underground CO2 storage rate and oil recovery rate. It is important to understand this process more in detail.


Main objective of the project UNCOVER is,

  • Visually investigate the mixing of supercritical CO2 (sCO2) with water and oil (with and without presence of porous media) at realistic reservoir conditions (pressure and temperature)

Project outcomes

  • A novel Hele-Shaw 2D experimental setup was designed and manufactured with glass windows to carry out high-pressure (150 bar) and high-temperature (100 °C) experiments
  • Visualization experiments of CO2 convective mixing in water and oil in three different scales were carried out using, 2D Hele-Shaw experiments, Pore-scale micromodel experiments, 3D PVT experiments
  • Obtained data such as CO2 transport velocities in different permeabilities and scaled experimental data can be used to the estimation of long-term CO2 storage potential and CO2 plume behavior
  • Data sets were generated from the visual investigation as an input for the numerical simulator from the Open Porous Media (OPM) framework