Sulcis Fault Laboratory (SFL) is designed to study gas migration processes in faults and to test a wide range of monitoring technologies.
SFL is not focused on storage but will help storage sites on managing leakage risks for protection of the environment and groundwater.The SFL project will contribute to addressing concerns regarding the potential of CO2 leakage by studying the impact on the local environment and groundwater. The experiment carried out will test the sensitivity and effectiveness of tools designed to monitor potential leakage, and let better understand the potential changes of groundwater quality if CO2 enters into aquifer.
The project will determine protocols and provide tools to reduce risks to better choose the location of storage sites, develop drilling or injection strategies, and plan monitoring programmes.
SFL will test monitoring tools under real life conditions increasing their TRLs.
The project includes:
- One inclined injection borehole that intersects the fault;
- One vertical observation well drilled on the other side of the fault to a depth of 200-250m, equipped with geophysical tools; several groundwater monitoring wells and a CO2 injection and control system.
A small amount of CO2 will be injected at hundreds (250) of metres depth, near a fault and hopefully migrate toward the surface, reproducing a CO2 leaking. This leaking will be monitored with different tools: geophysical, like seismic and down-hole, to image the CO2 migration pathway, and the injection parameters and rock and fault characteristics will be used to conduct computer models that will help understand the controlling mechanisms of flow. Also, the mechanical strength of faults will also be studied, as injecting dense CO2 under pressure could potentially induce strain that can be measured. The site characterization and monitoring data collected during the project will be modelled and the history matched to reconstruct the geometry of the fault and map potential stress and pressure changes during injection to make sure that safety thresholds are not exceeded. Data from this site will also be used to implement some modelling techniques and make them more efficient.