Mehdi ZeidouniResearch Associate - Petroleum Engineer, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences
With my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in petroleum engineering in hand, I started working on CO2 storage and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for my Ph.D. CO2 storage/EOR seemed to be the solution to a global problem that I could apply while building on my petroleum reservoir engineering expertise. After joining the Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) at the Bureau in December 2011, I continued working on CO2 storage/EOR. Problems with CO2 storage/EOR, however, are much easier to identify than solve. One of the main arguments against the practicality of CO2 geological sequestration is that it cannot be deployed safely if it is to be done at a scale required to mitigate climate change. In other words, it is argued that containment and injectivity cannot co-occur!
My research has therefore come to focus on the parameters controlling both injectivity and containment of CO2. For injectivity, I study salt dry-out and pressure build-up induced by CO2 injection. For containment, I work on detection and characterization of leakage pathways in caprocks overlying CO2 injection zones.
When CO2 is injected in the reservoir, it propagates much more slowly than does pressure induced by injection. Also, the pressure (especially in the above-zone interval) is very sensitive to leakage. Therefore, the pressure can be used for monitoring the CO2 injection performance and leakage. Leakage can mainly occur through old abandoned wells and/or faults. The injected CO2 and native reservoir fluids can leak toward the surface if hit leaky wells and/or leaky faults. I have developed a method of detecting leakage that is based on pressure transient behavior in aquifers overlying the injection zone. So that the pressure signal might be used quantitatively, I have developed analytical models for leakage through wells and faults. Using these models, we can find whether any leakage occurs and, if so, how severe it is. We should also be able to decide whether the leakage pathway is a fault or a well and to predict how severe the leakage can become over time.
To enable timely leakage detection, however, the pressure-monitoring network must be designed properly. I am using inverse theory to find the optimal design, and I am currently working on other monitorable data (e.g., temperature) to be used along with the pressure data for leakage detection.
Areas of Expertise
CO2 EOR/sequestration, Cap-rock characterization, Leakage modelling
Career-Development Publications Award - University of Texas at Austin (2012 - 2012)
Penn West Energy Graduate Scholarship - University of Calgary (2010 - 2011)
Faculty of Graduate Studies Travel Award - University of Calgary (2010 - 2010)
Teaching Assistant Effectiveness Award - University of Calgary (2008 - 2008)
Dean's Entrance Award - University of Calgary (2008 - 2009)
Graduate and Research Assistantship - University of Calgary (2006 - 2011)
NIOC Graduate Assistantship - Delft University of Technology (2001 - 2003)
Member of the SPE Carbon Capture & Sequestration Committee, (2013)
Judge on the 2nd Annual Jackson School of Geosciences Research Symposium, (2013)
Member of SPE Applied Technology Workshop on 4-D Seismic, (2006)
Reviewer, J. of Petroleum Science and Engineering, J. of Water Resources Research, J. of Advances in Water Resources, International J. of Greenhouse Gas Control, J. of Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technologuy, SPEJ, SPE REE, Central European J. of Engineering
Analytical modeling of CO2 storage, Invited half-day lecture at Research Experience in CO2 Sequestration program, June 24, Birmingham, Alabama (2013)
Adopting leaky well models to fault leakage, Invited talk presented at Schlumberger Carbon Services, Houston, TX (2013)
Leakage Characterization through Caprock with Application to CO2 Storage in Aquifers, Invited talk presented at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, California (2011)
Leakage detection and characterization through pressure monitoring, Presented at Stanford/USGS Meeting on Caprocks and Seals for Geologic Carbon Sequestration,, Monterey, California (2010)