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Estimating the net costs of brine production and disposal to expand pressure-limited dynamic capacity for basin-scale CO2 storage in a saline formation

October 9, 2020

If carbon capture and storage (CCS) needs to be deployed at basin- or larger-scale, it is likely that multiple sites will be injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into the same geologic formation. This could lead to excessive pressure buildup, overlapping induced pressure fronts, and pressure interference with neighboring uses of the subsurface. Extracting the in situ brine from the storage formation could be necessary to relieve pressure constraints; control migration of the CO2 plume, displaced brine, and the induced pressure front; and sequester more CO2 while reducing potential risks. Such active pressure management could be very costly, and it could present a formidable economic constraint on the feasible scale of deployment of CCS. Alternatively, there may be high-injectivity zones (“storage sweet spots”) where a significant volume of CO2 could be stored without producing brine. For simulated deployment of CO2 storage sites across the Illinois Basin, the results of this study suggest that brine production could be required to sequester 20 % or more of the regional CO2 emissions of major stationary sources in the Mount Simon Sandstone saline formation. In some cases, brine production could expand pressure-limited CO2 storage capacity enough to more than compensate for the additional costs of pressure management, but only if produced brine could be cheaply reinjected onsite for disposal in an overlying geologic formation. With or without brine production, this study found that the lowest-cost deployment option was to inject CO2 only into a potential storage sweet spot of the Mount Simon Sandstone.