Wettability of CO2-brine-mineral systems plays a vital role during geological CO2-storage. Residual trapping is lower in deep saline aquifers where the CO2 is migrating through quartz rich reservoirs but CO2 accumulation within a three-way structural closure would have a high storage volume due to higher CO2 saturation in hydrophobic quartz rich reservoir rock. However, such wettability is only poorly understood at realistic subsurface conditions, which are anoxic or reducing. As a consequence of the reducing environment, the geological formations (i.e. deep saline aquifers) contain appreciable concentrations of various organic acids. We thus demonstrate here what impact traces of organic acids exposed to storage rock have on their wettability. Technically, we tested hexanoic acid, lauric acid, stearic acid and lignoceric acid and measured wettability as a function of organic acid concentration at realistic storage conditions (i.e. 25 MPa and 323 K (50 °C)). In addition, measurements were also conducted at ambient conditions in order to quantify the incremental pressure effect on wettability. Clearly, the quartz surface turned significantly less water-wet with increasing organic acid concentrations, even at trace concentrations. Importantly, we identified a threshold concentration at ˜10−6 M organic acid, above which quartz wetting behaviour shifts from strongly water-wet to an intermediate-wet state. This wettability shift may have important consequences for CO2 residual trapping capacities, which may be significantly lower than for traditionally assumed water-wet conditions where CO2 is migrating through quartz rich reservoirs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law