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Grant to fund study of CO2 sequestration

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011, at 12:04 a.m.

The Kansas Geological Survey has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to test a technique that could enhance sequestering carbon dioxide in the deep subsurface of south-central and southwestern Kansas.

Two Wichita companies, Murfin Drilling and Vess Oil, will be involved in the process.

Carbon dioxide sequestration is the containment of CO2 from industrial processes and other sources. CO2 sequestration isn't currently practiced in Kansas but is being explored worldwide in an effort to reduce the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

Survey researchers will use a tool called volumetric curvature to analyze data from seismic reflection, a technique commonly used in oil exploration to create images of underground rocks without needing to drill.

If successful, the tool would provide a cost-effective way to assess geologic CO2 storage capacity and lead to a better understanding of CO2's underground movement, said researchers Jason Rush and Saibal Bhattacharya.

The process also could be used to capture oil and gas not previously retrievable, the researchers said.

Drilling is scheduled to start this summer, Bhattacharya said.

One target for sequestration in south-central and southwestern Kansas is a deep saline aquifer called the Arbuckle, a porous rock formation more than 3,500 feet deep and up to 1,000 feet thick.

Because water in the Arbuckle is unusable, it is a candidate for sequestration, according to Survey researchers.

Murfin and Vess will drill a bore hole in Ellis County. The bore hole will start out vertical, then gradually turn and go horizontally.

"This tool will also help benefit the oil and gas industry by helping them locate wells in large, undrained reservoir compartments, which increases the odds of getting productive wells," Bhattacharya said.

If the Arbuckle saline aquifer proves to be a good candidate for sequestration, it could be used for commercial-scale sequestration in the state, Rush said.

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