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Characterisation of the effect of CO2 on the cap rock integrity of the Carmel Formation (Green River, Utah)

In July 2012 a well was drilled into the natural CO2 system at Green River, Utah by Shell. A sequence of reservoir-, cap- and fault rocks of about 300 meters was cored. This unique core material enables studying the long-term effect of CO2-charged brines on different lithotypes. CIM, as part of an international multi-disciplinary research-team, is in charge of the mineralogical and petrological part of the research.
This thesis will focus on the Carmel siltstone-shale formation (Jurassic). The Carmel was deposited in a lacustrine environment. It constitutes the top seal of the underlying Navajo CO2-reservoir. The Navajo-Carmel contact shows clear signs of CO2 induced alteration. The Green River well transected a major fault system within the Carmel Formation. This fault is a major migration path for the upward migrating CO2 charged fluids, as evidenced by a series of springs and geysers at surface.
The goal of this study is to characterise the effect of CO2-induced alterations on mineralogical composition of the Carmel formation.
The main techniques will be X-ray diffraction (Rietveld-QPA, clay identification from oriented mounts), FTIR-microscopy and photo-spectrometry/Ion chromatograpy for the characterisation of the exchangeable cation population of the clays in the sediment.

Start of work: Asap
Supervision: Pieter Bertier, Helge Stanjek
Project partners: Shell, Cambridge University, British Geological Survey
Level: MSc