Recent Publications

MRCSP Publishes Peer-Review Research on Carbon Storage Methodologies, Storage Estimates in Michigan Reef Complex, Offshore storage, and Life Cycle Analysis for CO2-EOR

MRCSP Team has been busy in documenting and sharing the findings of last several years of research through a series of reports, papers, and presentations. Some recent papers are summarized below. We’ll keep adding to these over next few months and also post reports as they are completed. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

A Comparison of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resource Estimate Methodologies for a Regional Assessment of the Northern Niagaran Pinnacle Reef Trend in the Michigan Basin

Autumn Haagsma, Joel Main, Ashwin Pasumarti, Manoj Valluri, Mackenzie Scharenberg, Glenn Larsen, Wayne Goodman, Amber Conner, Zachary Cotter, Laura Keister, William Harrison, Srikanta Mishra, Rick Pardini, and Neeraj Gupta

Environmental Geosciences; 27(1): 9-23. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1206/eg.11051919019


The Northern Niagaran Pinnacle Reef Trend (NNPRT) has over 800 identified Silurian-aged pinnacle reefs in the Michigan Basin. The reefs have a long history of oil and gas production, gas storage, and more recently successful CO2-EOR (enhanced oil recovery) operations. These fields provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate the geologic variability in complex carbonate reservoirs and its impact on carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) feasibility. A comprehensive database was built which identifies reefs and links key reservoir attributes to each field. Novel methodologies and techniques were developed to analyze hundreds of fields for CO2 storage and enhanced oil recovery options. This included a regional static earth model to compute volumetric based resource estimates, fluid substitution to estimate storage resources from oil and gas production, and proximity analysis-based weighting of reefs to predict reservoir performance metrics and estimate enhanced oil recovery. Lastly an enhanced storage scenario of maximizing a reef’s storage potential at the end of a CO2-EOR life cycle was evaluated.

Recovery of OOIP

Summary of total storage potential across the NNPRT with >200 million metric tons of CO2 storage possible

Carbon dioxide storage resource assessment of Cretaceous- and Jurassic-age sandstones in the Atlantic offshore region of the northeastern United States

Fukai, Isis & Keister, Laura & Ravi Ganesh, Priya & Cumming, Lydia & Fortin, Will & Gupta, Neeraj. Environmental Geosciences. 27. 25-47. 10.1306/eg.09261919016.


Carbon capture and storage is a critical technology for ensuring a range of clean energy options are available to meet future energy demand in the United States and abroad. A total of 1079 industrial CO2 emission sources are located in the northeastern United States, where challenging surface and subsurface conditions limit onshore CO2 storage potential. A systematic resource assessment was conducted using industry-standard resource classification methods established by the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Storage Resources Management System to characterize CO2 storage resources in the middle–northern Atlantic offshore region along the eastern United States. Storable CO2 quantities and storage efficiencies were estimated for Cretaceous- and Jurassic-age sandstone sequences. Regional data integration and analysis were conducted to estimate storable quantities and storage efficiencies using probabilistic methods with static volumetric calculations and dynamic simulations. Offshore storage efficiencies range from 1% to 13%, with regional-scale estimates of 37–403 billion t (Gt) of CO2 classified as prospective storage resources. Dynamic CO2 injection simulation in a middle Cretaceous sequence on the eastern flank of the Great Stone Dome suggests 30–51 million t of CO2 can be stored and contained within the time and pressure constraints assumed for a commercial storage project. The regional Cretaceous and Jurassic plays identified in the offshore study region have prospective storage resources sufficient for long-term storage of CO2 from nearby industrial sources onshore. Continued resource discovery efforts are recommended to assess the development and commerciality of the potential storage identified near the Great Stone Dome.

CO2 storage potential for studied geologic formations

CO2 storage potential for studied geologic formations

Assessment of CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery and Associated Geologic Storage Potential in the Michigan Northern Pinnacle Reef Trend

Srikanta Mishra, Autumn Haagsma, Manoj Valluri, and Neeraj Gupta

Greenhouse Gases Science and Technology, v10-1, February 2020, pg. 32-49


This paper provides an improved estimate of CO2-EOR (enhanced oil recovery) and CO2 storage potential for depleted oil fields in Michigan’s Northern Pinnacle reef trend (NPRT). Our methodology is based on capturing data on reservoir performance from reefs currently undergoing CO2-EOR operations in the NPRT (referred to as “monitored reefs”), and then applying them to other reefs within the NPRT (referred to as “catalog reefs”). For each monitored reef, we calculate fractional primary recovery, fractional incremental EOR recovery, net utilization ratio and storage efficiency factor. The corresponding incremental oil recovery from EOR, storage capacity until end of EOR, and total CO2 injection needs are then estimated for each catalog reef and combined (over all monitored reefs) using a weighted averaging procedure. These weights are related to a statistical similarity measure that is calculated between each monitored reef and each catalog reef based on a number of variables related to production data, formation type or descriptive geologic attributes. For the entire NPRT catalog of 383 reefs as used in this study, our results indicate 118 MM (million) STB (stock tank barrels) (1.88 x 107 m3) of incremental oil from EOR operations, corresponding to 49 MM MT (metric tons) of CO2 storage and 266 MM MT of total CO2 injection. However, approximately 1/3 of the reefs provide 2/3 of the potential for CO2-EOR and geologic storage, assuming an economic threshold of 0.5 MM STB (80,000 m3) of incremental oil from EOR.

Summary table of potential oil recovery through CO2-EOR, resulting CO2 storage, and injection needs

Incremental recovery cutoff
MM STB    (106 Sm3)
Number of reefs % of total reefs Cumulative production MM STB    (106 Sm3) % of total incremental recovery CO2 storage (MM MT) % of total storage CO2 injection need
% of total need
0 383 100% 118 (18.76) 100% 49.1 100% 266.3 100%
0.1 (0.02) 228 60% 113 (17.97) 96% 47.1 96% 255.1 96%
0.5 (0.08) 74 19% 75 (11.92) 64% 30.5 62% 168.5 63%
1 (0.16) 25 7% 40 (6.36) 34% 16.4 33% 90.7 34%

Large CO2 Storage Volumes Result in Net Negative Emissions for Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Analysis Based on Records from 22-years of CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery Operations

Joel Sminchak, Sanjay Mawalkar, and Neeraj Gupta

Energy & Fuels 2020 34 (3), 3566-3577 DOI: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.9b04540


Emissions were documented in a greenhouse gas emissions life cycle analysis of 22 years of CO2-enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) operations for a site in the Northern Michigan Basin, USA. At the site, CO2 was cycled through a series of ten carbonate reef structures 1,500-2,000 m deep in the subsurface. The CO2 mobilized oil in the reefs, and the operator produced 294,321 metric tons (2,290,000 barrels) of oil with CO2-EOR at the site from 1996-2017. In the process a total of 2,089,000 metric tons CO2 was stored in the deep rock formations, which is a very large volume for CO2-EOR applications of this scale. The life cycle analysis accounted for greenhouse gas emissions related to CO2 capture, compression, pipeline transport, CO2 injection, oil processing, CO2 recycle, dehydration, fugitive emissions, construction, land-use, well drilling, oil transport, oil refining, hydrocarbon products combustion, and other processes. The analysis was based on site specific operational records such as natural gas usage, drilling records, and system flow metering. Altogether, the upstream CO2 capture, “gate-to-gate” CO2-EOR operations, and downstream fuel products refining/combustion had total emissions of 1,929,443 metric tons CO2 equivalent. Thus, the life cycle analysis showed -159,907 metric tons CO2 equivalent net balance for the CO2-EOR system for 1996-2017. The CO2-EOR system obtains CO2 from a gas processing facility that separates CO2 from natural gas produced in the area, and the CO2 would be otherwise vented to the atmosphere. A ready source of CO2 that allowed a large volume of associated CO2 storage, compressors that run on natural gas, a small pipeline distribution network, highly contained reservoirs, and government incentives to encourage CO2 storage also contributed to the lower CO2 emission balance when compared to other CO2-EOR life-cycle studies. While this site had many favorable factors to result in net negative emissions, it provides an example of managing CO2-EOR operations and optimizing associated CO2 storage to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions.

Illustrative diagram of the life cycle analysis of CO2 EOR

Illustrative diagram of the life-cycle analysis of CO2-EOR in the Michigan Niagaran reefs showing a net-negative result

Additional Learning

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