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Geophysics for modelling and monitoring the Earth's response to CO2 sequestration


   School of Geosciences

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  Dr Mark Chapman  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

PLEASE READ FULL DETAILS AND HOW TO APPLY at https://www.ed.ac.uk/geosciences/study/degrees/research-degrees/phd-projects/physical-sciences?item=1405

Project background

Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) has been identified as an essential step if the UK is to meet its net-zero commitments. Being able to store CO2 underground safely and efficiently will require novel geophysical, particularly seismic, monitoring methods.

In this project you will work on the development of seismic imaging methods which allow us to map CO2 movement underground following injection. A key question will be how changes in fluid saturation and pressure translate into observable geophysical responses. Understanding this question fully will allow the results to be integrated with the output of predictive fluid-flow models, which are a vital component of managing the process securely.

The project is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, University of Bristol and BP, all of whom are leading centres of excellence in this field. A key goal is to influence the monitoring strategies which will be employed in upcoming commercial projects.

Research questions

  1. What is the optimal strategy for geophysical monitoring of CCUS operations?
  2. Can geophysics provide robust estimates of pressure and saturation during injection?
  3. How do we integrate geophysical measurements with geomechanics and reservoir models?
  4. How can we build suitable rock physics models, calibrated on available data?
  5. How can current workflows be extended to account for seismic anisotropy?

Methodology

  1. Building rock physics models. The student will begin by reviewing the theory of wave propagation in fractured rock saturated by multiple fluids, and the literature on laboratory measurements of velocity and attenuation for rock samples with varying levels of CO2 saturation and pressure. This work will allow transforms to be developed between the rock physics models and reservoir and geomechanical models.
  2. Geophysical Scenario Modelling. In this step, we will consider various injection scenarios and the associated changes in reservoir conditions predicted by fluid flow and geomechanical models. Our rock physics models will be used to generate synthetic seismic responses to these scenarios. Key areas of interest will be the interaction of CO2 with fractures and the potential effect of CO2 penetration into the caprock.
  3. Data Analysis Techniques. In this section the student will develop strategies for geophysical surveillance which directly integrate active seismic, microseismic, reservoir modelling and geomechanics. The study will be informed by field data from the study area including reservoir simulation outputs and baseline seismic surveys. It is hoped that this strategy will provide a foundation for injection monitoring in the years ahead.

Training

A comprehensive training programme will be provided comprising both specialist scientific training and generic transferable and professional skills. In addition to core skills in geophysical modelling and data processing, the student will develop high-level skills in mathematical modelling and scientific computation. The close interaction with BP will ensure that the student will be trained in the most up to date methods of industrial geophysics, and on completion will be an expert in geophysical monitoring.

Requirements

The project would suit an enthusiastic and ambitious student who is keen to take on a new challenge and is unafraid to develop new skills. Much of the work is numerical, so a background in geophysics, maths, physics or computing would be suitable. Whilst the student will be based in Edinburgh, support exists to spend time both in Bristol and BP's offices.


Funding Notes

EPSRC iCASE studentship, 4 years of stipend, UK fees and generous research expenses

References

PLEASE READ FULL DETAILS AND HOW TO APPLY at https://www.ed.ac.uk/geosciences/study/degrees/research-degrees/phd-projects/physical-sciences?item=1405
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