I am currently working on the following topics:
Quantification of CO2 migration through fault zones in the Miocene section, Gulf of Mexico (in collaboration with ExxonMobil)
Assessing the predictive ability of CO2 storage computer models by directly comparing experiments and simulations (in collaboration with the University of Bergen)
A summary of research areas and problems that I have studied in detail is provided below.
FAULT zone characterization
Accurate prediction of subsurface phenomena and safety in subsurface technologies often requires a quantitative understanding of the hydraulic and mechanical behavior of geologic faults. This is difficult to achieve, given the heterogeneous nature of faults and our limited ability to image and sample them. Current models of the hydraulic and mechanical properties of fault zones are strong simplifications of reality, and are largely based on empirical correlations derived from laboratory tests.
Our work in this area has focused on soft siliciclastic basins, with the goal of quantifying uncertainty in fault core permeability and anisotropy. This geologic setting is of particular interest for geologic carbon storage, given the ability of this type of sediments to accommodate significant deformation ductilely.
Effect of stratigraphic proportion of clay on fault core permeability.
Top panel shows more fragmented clay smear, and higher permeability.
Numerical simulation of CO2 injection in the Miocene section, Gulf of Mexico.
Direct comparison between experiments of CO2 injection (left column) and numerical simulations (gas saturation, middle, and CO2 concentration in water, right).
GEOLOGIC CO2 SEQUESTRATION
Carbon capture and geological storage (CCS) is a technology that can be deployed at scale to mitigate CO2 emissions as we transition to a sustainable energy system. To evaluate the feasibility of geologic CO2 storage in a given location, one of the key tools is numerical modeling. These models inform us about the migration of CO2 in the subsurface, and are regularly used to make forecasts and take decisions.
Questions we are addressing in this area include:
What is the hazard of CO2 migration through geologic faults?
How accurate are subsurface models of CO2 storage?