Impact of reservoir quality on the carbon storage potential of the Bunter Sandstone Formation, southern North Sea

A. D. Hollinsworth, I. de Jonge-Anderson, J. R. Underhill, R. J. Jamieson

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Abstract

The Lower Triassic Bunter Sandstone Formation is a major prospective reservoir for carbon capture, utilization and storage in the UK Southern North Sea, and is likely to play a pivotal role in the UK reaching mid-century Net Zero targets. A knowledge gap in reservoir quality exists between previous detailed, but highly focused front-end engineering and development projects, and large-scale regional analysis. This study integrates a regional approach with locally derived reservoir characterization, offering a holistic analysis of the prospectivity of the Bunter Sandstone Formation for subsurface CO2 storage. Petrophysical analysis of ninety-six wells across the UK Southern North Sea is coupled with seismic interpretation to understand spatial variations of reservoir thickness, facies and quality that underpin theoretical CO2 storage capacity models. Electrofacies classification is employed to identify and correlate baffles and barriers to permeability over areas currently licensed for geological carbon storage. Our findings point to variable, but broadly favourable reservoir conditions, though identification and correlation of laterally extensive intraformational mudstones and halite-cemented horizons will likely present challenges to CO2 injection. Within carbon storage license blocks CS001, CS006 and CS007, the Bunter Sandstone Formation has the potential to store 5700 MCO2t, the equivalent of seventy-nine years of the UK's 2022 business and industrial CO2 emissions. A further 434 MCO2t is offered by Triassic closures within license CS005, with many neighbouring moderate (100–1000 MCO2t) and small (<100 MCO2t) closures forming part of newly awarded carbon storage licenses that will likely form part of the UK SNS CCUS portfolio in the future. Supplementary material: well-correlation panels and tabulated velocity and storage capacity modelling parameters are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.7027450
Original languageEnglish
Article numbergeoenergy2023-037
JournalGeoenergy
Volume2
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jan 2024

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