The migration of CO2 stored in deep saline aquifers depends on the morphology of the top of the aquifer. Topographical highs, such as anticlines, may trap CO2 and limit the distance migrated, or elevated ridges may provide pathways enabling CO2 to migrate further from the injector. For example, seismic data of the Utsira formation at the Sleipner storage site indicates that a branch of the CO2 plume is moving to the north . It is therefore important to study the interface between the aquifer and the caprock when assessing risk as CO2 storage sites. Undulations in the top surface of an aquifer may either be caused by sedimentary structures , or by folding. In addition, irregularities may be generated by faulting . Large-scale features are detected using seismic data (i.e. structures with amplitudes greater than 10 m), and such structures will generally be included in reservoir or aquifer models. However, smallerscale features could also have an effect on a CO2 plume migration, and this is the topic of our study. We have conducted simulations in models with a range of top-surface morphology, and have examined the distance migrated and the amount of dissolution. The results from this study suggest that the effects of sub-seismic variations in the topography of the aquifer/caprock interface are unlikely to have a significant impact on the migration and dissolution of CO2 in a saline aquifer, compared with tilt or permeability anisotropy. The results were most sensitive to the kv/kh ratio during the injection period.
Shariatipour, S. M., Pickup, G. E., & Mackay, E. J. (2014). The effect of aquifer/caprock interface on geological storage of CO2. In Energy Procedia (Vol. 63, pp. 5544–5555). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.588