The SPWLA Permian Basin Chapter

Technical Lunch and Learn
Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 11:30 - 1:00 PM CST
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Developing Class VI Injection Permits: Is it different from developing prospects?
By: Dana S. Ulmer-Scholle

The Carbon Utilization Storage Partnership of the Western United States (CUSP) is a DOE-funded project that was created to accelerate onshore CCUS technology deployment. Work under CUSP involves characterizing known hydrocarbon and saline basins to determine their applicability for CO2 storage within the San Juan and Delaware basins. The CarbonSAFE Phase III project in the San Juan Basin project was able to skip the earlier two phases because of some of this initial work because of these and previous DOE-funded projects.
Carbon dioxide sequestration and/or acid gas injection permitting is a rigorous process. Because of all the data needed, it usually takes well over 24 months to get a Class VI CO2 injection well permitted through the EPA. Enforcement/primacy is held by EPA in all states, except North Dakota and Wyoming. Both New Mexico and Texas are currently looking at taking control of primacy.
What is involved in getting a permit and developing an application? In many ways, it is not that different from developing a potential prospect. The first step is to understand the geology of the area: how the basin and strata evolved with time, known structural elements, reservoir and seal characteristics, and other resources. Based on that information, a basic basin model is developed.
The hydrogeology of the area, identification of aquifers and USDWs, collection of water chemistry data, and location of surficial waters, water wells and disposal wells, is necessary to ascertain if a reservoir is suitable for injection and to provide information for later engineering models.
For specific projects, detailed geologic models, developed for one or multiple injectors, integrates well logs, porosity and permeability data, bottom-hole pressures, saltwater disposal injection well histories, well penetrations, fault locations, current seismicity and the potential for induced seismicity in the area. Model sizes vary from several miles upward to over 50 miles depending on the number and location of injectors, CO2 or acid gas volume, and the size of the pressure and CO2/acid gas. This is an iterative process between geologic and engineering models.
CUSP and similar DOE-funded initiatives provide industrial partners opportunities to jump start these types of projects. These types of projects are part of a multiprong approach to remove CO2 from waste streams and ultimately the atmosphere.

Speaker Biography:
Dana Ulmer-Scholle received a B.S. degree in 1981 from the University of Cincinnati and completed a M.S. degree (1983) at Southern Methodist University working on the Mississippian Arroyo Peñasco Group of New Mexico. After a stint working for ARCO Exploration Co. in Dallas, she returned to SMU for a Ph.D. (1992). Her dissertation research concentrated on evaporite-related diagenesis in upper Paleozoic carbonate rocks from New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, and Greenland.
Dana has worked, or consulted, for several companies including Amoco Oil and Gas Co., ARCO Exploration, ARCO International, Mobil Research, Maersk Oil and Gas, Anadarko, and others.
While at New Mexico Tech, she has been involved in a variety of research pursuits. From CO2 sequestration in carbonate and siliciclastic systems, carbonate sedimentology and diagenesis, sedimentary petrography, low-temperature isotope and trace element geochemistry, fluid inclusion analysis and fluid flow histories in sedimentary rocks, and environmental investigations that include heavy-metals (depleted uranium) bioremediation and fate-and-transport of heavy minerals in the environment.
She is the author/coauthor or editor on numerous papers, reports, books, and CD-ROMs and has also received the Robert H. Dott, Sr., Memorial Awards for AAPG Memoirs 77 and 109. Dana currently works with PRRC at New Mexico Tech on numerous federal- and company-funded CO2 and hydrogen sequestration projects.



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Permian Basin Chapter of the SPWLA

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August 22, 2023

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