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Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752

DOI 10.1007/s12665-013-2653-z


Non-parametric simulations-based conditional stochastic

predictions of geologic heterogeneities and leakage potentials
for hypothetical CO2 sequestration sites
Weon Shik Han • Kue-Young Kim •

Sungwook Choung • Jina Jeong •

Na-Hyun Jung • Eungyu Park

Received: 19 August 2012 / Accepted: 30 June 2013 / Published online: 16 July 2013
Ó Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Abstract The present study focuses on understanding the of CO2 plume migration, the observations in the geosta-
leakage potentials of the stored supercritical CO2 plume tistical simulations were confirmed and the GCMC-based
through caprocks generated in geostatistically created predictions showed underestimations in CO2 leakage in the
heterogeneous media. For this purpose, two hypothetical stationary case, while the SISIM-based predictions showed
cases with different geostatistical features were developed, considerable overestimations in the non-stationary case.
and two conditional geostatistical simulation models (i.e., The overall results suggest that: (1) proper characterization
sequential indicator simulation or SISIM and generalized of low-permeability layering is significantly important in
coupled Markov chain or GCMC) were applied for the the prediction of CO2 plume behavior, especially for the
stochastic characterizations of the heterogeneities. Then, leakage potential of CO2 and (2) appropriate geostatistical
predictive CO2 plume migration simulations based on techniques must be selectively employed considering the
stochastic realizations were performed and summarized. In degree of stationarity of the targeting fields to minimize the
the geostatistical simulations, the results from the GCMC uncertainties in the predictions.
model showed better performance than those of the SISIM
model for the strongly non-stationary case, while SISIM Keywords Geologic CO2 sequestration  Geostatistics 
models showed reasonable performance for the weakly Leakage  Sequential indicator  Markov chain
non-stationary case in terms of low-permeability lenses
characterization. In the subsequent predictive simulations

Electronic supplementary material The online version of this Prior to commercial-scale CO2 injection, various preceding
article (doi:10.1007/s12665-013-2653-z) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
assessments from laboratory- to pilot-scale verifications
and numerical simulations have been conducted by inter-
W. S. Han  N.-H. Jung national scientific and engineering communities in pursuit
Department of Geosciences, University of (1) safe and secure storage (Audigane et al. 2007; Han
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, USA
et al. 2010b; Juanes et al. 2006), (2) short- and long-term
K.-Y. Kim monitoring (Bateson et al. 2008; Emberley et al. 2004;
Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, Lewicki et al. 2005; Newell et al. 2008; Wells et al. 2007),
Daejeon, Republic of Korea and (3) risk assessment (Kopp et al. 2010; Rohmer and
Bouc 2010; Siirila et al. 2012; Smith et al. 2011). The
S. Choung
Division of Advanced Nuclear Engineering, Pohang University majority of these studies reached similar conclusions,
of Science and Technology, Pohang, Republic of Korea suggesting that sound characterizations of the subsurface
heterogeneity are the most important requirement for
J. Jeong  E. Park (&)
constructing conceptual models and conducting associated
Department of Geology, Kyungpook National University,
1370 Sangyeok-dong, Buk-gu, Daegu, Republic of Korea analyses (Ambrose et al. 2008; Han et al. 2010a; Hovorka
e-mail: et al. 2004; Jahangiri and Zhang 2011; Lengler et al. 2010;

2740 Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752

Li et al. 2011). Nevertheless, the detailed characterization developed from these two geostatistical models, two
of such complex subsurface heterogeneities at the site-wide hypothetical cases describing the CO2 injection formation
scale is often constrained due to issues related to the project under the low-k caprock were designed.
resources and budgets. For this reason, investigators often
rely on limited numbers of hard data collected within the
boundaries of the sites (e.g., withdrawn borehole core or Non-parametric geostatistical models: generalized
logging data). To overcome such limitations at the site- coupled Markov chain and sequential indicator
wide scale, geostatistics and the associated simulation simulations
methods could be applied. The uncertainties associated
with subsurface characterizations play important roles in Often the sequence of sedimentary rock strata is shifted in
the sound predictions, which suggest incorporation of field- time. From a geostatistical point of view, the variable
collected borehole petrophysical and geophysical survey sequence of the sedimentary profiles may be described as
data with the stochastic analyses techniques. Recently, having non-stationarity. Also, the lithologic transition in
researchers in the field of geological CO2 sequestration the positive and the negative vertical directions are mutu-
have started to acknowledge the importance of the geo- ally incompatible and terminated in the different litholog-
statistical simulations to better grasp the CO2 plume dis- ical sequences, in general. Park (2010) defined these
tribution, trapping, and leakage through preferential observations as expressing directional non-stationarity. For
pathways in geological heterogeneity (Table 1). the characterizations of a deep sedimentary basin, the
A number of stochastic geostatistical simulation models lithological non-stationarity and the directional non-sta-
are applicable including sequential Gaussian simulation tionarity in the transitions are equally important and,
(SGSIM), turning band simulation (TB), sequential indi- therefore, must be considered.
cator simulation (SISIM), and Markov chain-based SISIM Figures 1a and 2a show distributions of three rocks in
(Carle and Fogg 1996; Deutsch and Journel 1998; Man- two deterministic cases (cases 1 and 2), in which the rock
toglou and Wilson 1982). Recently, the indicator-based with medium k (RT1: 10-14 m2) occupies the upper half
generalized coupled Markov chain (GCMC) model has and the rock with high k (RT2: 10-13 m2) occupies the
been proposed as a viable multidimensional option where lower half of the domain. The low-k rocks (RT3: 10-16 m2)
the directional asymmetry distribution of the subsurface with elongated lens shape are distributed around the inter-
media can be handled efficiently (Park 2010; Park et al. face between the high- and medium-k rocks. The model
2007). domains for two cases are identical with 4,000 m 9 100 m
The aforementioned simulation tools can be divided into size and are uniformly discretized by 40 m 9 1 m grids.
parametric (e.g., TB, SGSIM) and non-parametric (e.g., The primary difference between cases 1 and 2 is the size
SISIM, GCMC) groups. The parametric simulation meth- of the elongated lenses and their distribution patterns. In
ods assume that subsurface media include a non-extreme case 1, representing a weakly non-stationary field, the
value and, concurrently, the property transitions in space distributions of low-k lenses were concentrated around the
are relatively smooth (Wen and Kung 1993). The optimal mid-x and -y locations, where only four wide-ranged lenses
sites for geological CO2 sequestration should not have existed (Fig. 1a). On the other hand, in case 2 representing
smooth changes in the media properties. Rather, they are a stationary field, the scales of the low-k lenses were short,
expected to have abrupt changes in permeability (k) or and they were distributed across the entire range along the
porosity (/), in which a higher k and / formation lies x-direction. In these heterogeneity fields, artificial bore-
under a lower k and / layer serving as a capping formation. holes are assigned in which the x-positions are randomly
Therefore, the geologic setting with two extreme para- selected (Figs. 1b, 2b). To further mimic actual borehole
metric distributions is characterized as an optimal site for drilling, the maximum depths of the boreholes are also
geologic CO2 sequestration. In such a case, indicator-based chosen randomly. For case 1, totally 10 boreholes are
non-parametric simulations are recommended because the collected for conditioning data and, for case 2, 15 bore-
methods do not assume Gaussian or smooth transitions of holes are used considering the increased heterogeneity of
the media properties. the structures.
The present study emphasizes understanding the use- Table 2 shows the one-step transition probabilities (TPs)
fulness of the stochastic and non-parametric geostatistical matrices and the approximated mean lengths (lk ) of three
characterization due to the nature of abrupt transitions in rocks along the positive/negative x- and y-directions
targeted and capping formation. For this purpose, two obtained from the nearest neighborhood interpolation from
representative non-parametric geostatistical simulation the collected borehole data in case 1 (Fig. 1b). The lk of
models, SISIM, and the recently developed model of each rock is acquired from Carle and Fogg (1996) and Park
GCMC were chosen. To compare the heterogeneity fields (2010);

Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752 2741

Table 1 Summary of previous studies adapting geostatistical techniques in geologic CO2 sequestration related field
Geostatiscal approaches Heterogeneity Approaches Flow simulator Study objectives

Han et al. Sequential Gaussian (GSLIB: Uncorrelated Multiple CMG’s GEM (CMG 2007) Understanding CO2 trapping
(2010a) Deutsch and Journel 1998) random field realizations mechanisms (mobile,
Various residually, dissolution-, and
corrected mineral-trapped CO2)
random field
Flett et al. Sequential Gaussian and Binary Single CHEARS Understanding CO2 trapping
(2007) sequential indicator uncorrelated realization mechanisms (mobile,
(GSLIB: Deutsch and random field residual-, and dissolution-
Journel 1998) trapped CO2)
Doughty and Markov chain (TProGS: Fluvial deltaic Single TOUGH2 (Pruess et al. Understanding spatial CO2
Pruess Carle and Fogg 1996, 1997) Frio formations realization 1999) plume distribution
Jahangiri and Sequential Gaussian (GSLIB: Uncorrelated Multiple Eclipse 300 (Schlumberger Understanding spatial CO2
Zhang Deutsch and Journel 1998) random field realizations 2008) plume distribution
(2011) Various
random fields
Lengler et al. Sequential Gaussian Uncorrelated Multiple TOUGH2 (Pruess et al. Understanding CO2 trapping
(2010) (Pebesma 2004) random field realizations 1999) mechanisms (mobile and
Various dissolution-trapped CO2)
random fields
Pau et al. Uncorrelated In-house code and Understanding the onset time
(2010) random field TOUGH-MP (Zhang of dissolved CO2
et al. 2008) convection
Ide et al. Sequential Gaussian Correlated Single ECLIPSE 100 Understanding spatial CO2
(2007) random field realization (Schlumberger 2005) plume distribution
Zhang et al. Sequential Gaussian (GSLIB: Correlated Multiple ITOUGH (Finsterle, 2004) Testing the methodology of
(2011) Deutsch and Journel 1998) random field realizations estimating residually
trapped CO2 using a single-
well injection withdrawal
Farajzadeh Fourier transform (Bruining Correlated Multiple In-house code Identifying three flow
et al. (2011) et al. 1997) random field realizations regimes (fingering,
dispersive, and channeling)
for dissolved CO2
Kumar et al. Fourier transform (Jennings Uncorrelated Single CMG’s GEM (CMG 2007) Understanding CO2 trapping
(2005) et al. 2000) random field realization mechanisms (mobile,
residually, and dissolution-
trapped CO2)

lk ¼ 1 op0kk oh h¼0  Dx=ð1  pkk Þ ðk ¼ 1; 2; 3Þ; ð1Þ y-directions differ considerably. As one of the most obvi-
ous examples, the TP from RT2 to RT1 is zero to positive
where p0 kk is continuous and pkk is the one-step recurrent y-direction, while the TP from RT1 to RT2 is zero to the
TP from rock type k to k. Along the positive and negative negative y-direction. In case 1, the lk of RT1 and RT2 are
x-directions, the directional non-stationarity is not severe 7,214.5 and 8,650.7 m, respectively, which are about twice
and, therefore, the diagonal components of the positive and the domain length along the x-direction. On the other hand,
negative TPs are almost identical. In the horizontal direc- the lk of RT3 is 926 m, similar to the actual mean length of
tion, RT1 and RT2 do not communicate in both ways, RT3 measured from the original data (=877.3 m) in
while RT2 has the largest self-TP and RT3 has the small-
Fig. 1a. In the y-direction, there is a discrepancy in the lk of
est. The differences between the positive and negative TPs
RT1 and RT2 measured along the positive and negative
are significant for the y-direction due to the directional non-
directions. The estimated lk of RT1 and RT2 in the positive
stationarity. Therefore, the diagonal as well as off-diagonal
y-direction are 41.1 and 135.4 m, respectively, while those
components of the TPs from the positive and negative

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Fig. 1 a Hypothetical and

deterministic k field of case 1,
which includes upper formation
(RT1: 10-14 m2, red color),
lower formation (RT2:
10-13 m2, green color), and
low-k lenses (RT3: 10-16 m2,
blue color). Case 1
characterizes the heterogeneous
k field where the low-k lenses
extend laterally long. b The
collected k values at the
randomly penetrated boreholes

Fig. 2 a Hypothetical and

deterministic k field of case 2,
which includes upper formation
(RT1: 10-14 m2, red color),
lower formation (RT2:
10-13 m2, green color), and
low-k lenses (RT3: 10-16 m2,
blue color). Case 2
characterizes the heterogeneous
k field where the low-k lenses
extend laterally short. b The
collected k values at the
randomly penetrated boreholes

in the negative y-direction are 255.1 and 35.5 m, respec- components considerably differ, except for the component
tively. These inconsistencies indicate that there is strong of RT3 to RT3. The most notable difference is that the
directional non-stationarity in the vertical y-direction. The positive TP from RT1 to RT2 is given as zero, while the
embedded RT3 shows an identical lk of 4.0 m in both of the negative TP from RT2 to RT1 is also zero. The lk of RT1
directions. and RT2 to the x-direction are 9,069.3 and 5,609 m,
Table 3 shows the one-step TPs matrixes and the lk in respectively, and that of RT3 is 469 m. The discrepancy in
case 2 data. Similar to case 1, RT1 and RT2 do not com- the lk of RT1 and RT2 measured along the positive and
municate with each other in both the positive and negative negative directions is not as great as that for case 1. The
x-directions. Only slight differences occur in both the estimated lk of RT1 and RT2 in the positive y-direction are
diagonal and the off-diagonal components of the positive 25.1 and 27.4 m, respectively, while those in the negative
and negative TPs. In the y-direction, the overall y-direction are 51.6 and 17.5 m, respectively. In case 1, the

Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752 2743

Table 2 Geostatistical parameters in case 1 Table 3 Geostatistical parameters in case 2


TPM along positive x-direction TPM along positive x-direction

RT1 0.9994 0.0 6.160E-04 RT1 0.999 0.0 9.977E-04
RT2 0.0 0.9998 1.576E-04 RT2 0.0 0.9983 1.675E-03
RT3 5.759E-03 5.040E-03 0.9892 RT3 8.94E-03 1.405E-02 0.977
TPM along negative x-direction TPM along negative x-direction
RT1 0.9996 0.0 4.107E-04 RT1 0.9989 0.0 1.103E-03
RT2 0.0 0.9996 3.678E-04 RT2 0.0 0.9982 1.783E-03
RT3 8.639E-03 2.16E-03 0.9892 RT3 8.102E-03 1.322E-02 0.9787
TPM along positive y-direction TPM along positive y-direction
RT1 0.9757 1.367E-02 1.065E-02 RT1 0.9601 1.341E-02 2.65E-02
RT2 0.0 0.9926 7.387E-03 RT2 0.0 0.9635 3.652E-02
RT3 5.4E-02 0.1951 0.7509 RT3 0.154 0.343 0.5028
TPM along negative y-direction TPM along negative y-direction
RT1 0.9961 0.0 3.921E-03 RT1 0.9806 0.0 1.937E-02
RT2 1.399E-02 0.9718 1.42E-02 RT2 1.38E-02 0.9427 4.349E-02
RT3 0.1497 9.935E-02 0.7509 RT3 0.2152 0.282 0.5028
Mean length along x-direction Mean length along x-direction
lix (m) 7,214.5 8,650.7 926.0 lix (m) 9,069.3 5,609.0 469.0
Mean length along positive y-direction Mean length along positive y-direction
1 i
lx (m) 41.1 135.4 4.0 1 i
ly (m) 25.1 27.4 2.0
Mean length along negative y-direction Mean length along negative y-direction
2 i
ly (m) 255.1 35.5 4.0 2 i
ly (m) 51.6 17.5 2.0

differences between lk in RT1 and RT2 along the y-direc- maps, the fitness and the unfitness measures introduced by
tions are from 3.3 to 7.2 times in total. However, in case 2, Park (2010, Eq. (6)) are computed. The EP predicts the
the differences are a minimum of 1.1 times and a maximum actual RT3 distribution correctly with 0.76 and incorrectly
of 2.9 times. The smaller differences in the y-directional lk with 0.026. Figure 2 (ESM only) shows the EP maps
of case 2 compared to case 1 can be attributed to the generated from the SISIM realization of case 1. In the input
reduced non-stationarity and it may be concluded that the data, ordinary kriging was used as an estimator, and the
geospatial regularities are increased in case 2. The employed semi-variogram models were all spherical,
embedded RT3 in case 2 also shows identical lk , similarly which have no nugget effects and the sills are uniformly
for case 1, of 2.0 m in both directions. 1.0. Due to the higher entropy at the lithological interface
Based on the conditioning borehole logging data and the of SISIM (Park 2010; Park et al. 2007), the EP distributions
geospatial statistics (i.e., TPs matrixes, lk , and lithological of the rocks show blurring around the rock parcels (Fig. 2a
proportions), a total of 100 realizations are generated using and b, ESM only). Note that the almost symmetric EP
SISIM (Deutsch and Journel 1998) and GCMC (Park distribution of RT3 is peculiar in SISIM (Fig. 2c, ESM
2010), respectively. From the superposition of the 100 only) due to the incapability of handling asymmetric rock
realizations, the ensemble probabilities of each rock juxtaposition of indicator semi-variogram. Employing the
occurrence are computed in Figs. 1, 2, 3, and 4 (ESM fitness and the unfitness measures, the EP maps correctly
only). For the conversion of the correlation scales (kk ) of predict the distribution of RT3 with 0.37 and incorrectly
each rock from the lk , the equation of kk ¼ xð1  pk Þlk with 0.028. These values indicate the low quality of the
with x = 1.5 by assuming a spherical lithological structure SISIM predictions compared to GCMC. In addition, the
is applied (Ritzi 2000) and the values are used as the input underestimation of the structural extension of RT3 to the
model parameters of SISIM. x- and y-direction in the SISIM is also distinctive relative to
Figure 1 (ESM only) shows the ensemble probability the GCMC (Figs. 1c and 2c, ESM only).
(EP) maps from the GCMC realizations of case 1. To Similarly, Fig. 3a–c (ESM only) shows the EP maps of
explain the predictability and the unpredictability of EP GCMC realizations in case 2 as shown in Fig. 2a. The

2744 Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752

distribution of the RT3 is predicted correctly with 0.69 in Table 4. In all simulations, supercritical CO2 was
fitness, and incorrectly with 0.029 unfitness value. Com- injected at a depth of 1,080 m and in the middle of the
parison of the EP map in Fig. 3c (ESM only) with the model (x = 2,000 m) during a 2-year period with a con-
deterministic k field shown in Fig. 2a, however, indicates stant rate of 0.5 million metric tons per year. This injection
that the RT3 extension predicted from GCMC seems to be rate and period were chosen to approximate the injection
slightly exaggerated, which may lead to overestimation of size of a medium-scale CO2 sequestration demonstration.
the performance of low-k lenses as capping formation. The primary drainage curves of CO2 and brine in relative
Finally, Figs 4a–c (ESM only) shows the EP maps from the permeabilities were calculated from Parker et al. (1987)
SISIM of case 2. The almost symmetric probability dis- and the associated imbibition curves of CO2 from Land
tribution of RT3 can be confirmed from Fig. 4c (ESM (1968). In addition, the capillary pressure is calculated
only) similar to the SISIM predictions in case 1. The fitness from Parker et al. (1987). Their mathematical expressions
and the unfitness measures were 0.37 and 0.037, respec- are described in Table 5. Finally, all simulations were
tively, which indicates a lower prediction quality than that performed with CMG’s GEMTM simulator, a multidimen-
of the GCMC counterpart. sional, finite-difference, isothermal, compositional simu-
lator (CMG 2007). A detailed description of the GEM
simulator is discussed in previous studies of subsurface
Numerical model settings CO2 plume behavior (Bachu et al. 2009; Bryant et al. 2008;
Ghaderi et al. 2011; Kumar et al. 2005; Saadatpoor et al.
With two hypothetical and deterministic k distributions 2010; Wong et al. 2007).
(Figs. 1, 2) and their stochastic realizations, two-dimen-
sional cross-sectional models were designed. The models
represent the candidate formation for geologic CO2 Results and discussion
sequestration with depths ranging from 1,000 m at the top
to 1,100 m at the bottom. For initial conditions, the model CO2 injection simulations on two hypothetical
is fully saturated with brine and assigned a hydrostatic and deterministic cases
pressure (P = qwgh) and temperature (T = 10 ? 0.025 h)
ranging from 10.0 to 11.0 MPa and from 35 to 40 °C, Figure 3a–d shows the snapshots of CO2 mass distributions
respectively. As such, the formation pressure and temper- at years 2, 50, 100, and 200 from the deterministic CO2
ature are above critical conditions (7.38 MPa and 31.1 °C) injection simulation on case 1. The purpose of the simu-
for supercritical CO2 (Span and Wagner 1996). The lation is to build a benchmark model for predictive simu-
detailed parameters of the base case model are summarized lations based on geostatistical realizations as discussed in
the ‘‘CO2 injection simulations on conditional stochastic
Table 4 Model parameters describing a generalized two-dimensional
The intrinsic driving force for the injected CO2 move-
ment was the buoyancy originating from the density dif-
Number of elements x-Direction: 400, y-direction: 1, ference between the supercritical-phase CO2 and brine,
z-direction: 100
resulting in a CO2 plume migration opposite to the gravi-
Size of each element (m) Dx = 100, Dy = 2,000, Dz = 1
tational direction (Fig. 3a). In the simulation, when the
Initial pressure condition Hydrostatic gradient from top (10.0)
(MPa) to bottom (12.0)
plume reached the low-k lens (RT3), the shape of the CO2
plume changed to an inversely shaped cone due to the
Initial temperature condition Geothermal gradient from top (35) to
(°C) bottom (40) lateral spreading and retarded vertical movement of CO2
Permeability: k (m2) RT1: kv: 10-14 m2 and kh: 10-15 m2 within the low-k lens. Two different transports controlling
RT2: kv: 10-13 m2 and kh: 10-14 m2 the CO2 plume distribution around and within the low-
RT3: kv: 10-16 m2 and kh: 10-17 m2 k lenses are observed. First, when an upward migrating
Porosity: / 0.1 CO2 plume encountered a low-k lens, the CO2 plume
Brine density: qbr (kg/m3) 1,100 accumulated and spread under the low-k lens, displacing
CO2 density: qCO2 (kg/m3) *690
the brine. Immediately, the CO2 plume migrated around the
low-k lens because it was difficult to penetrate the low-
Maximum residual CO2 0.1
saturation: Smax k lens before enough pressure was built up. Due to this
Boundary conditions Top and bottom boundaries: no flow
reason, only a certain amount of CO2 penetrated through
the low-k lens (year 2 of Fig. 3a). The CO2 plume kept
Lateral boundaries: constant pressure
expanding underneath the low-k lens until it reached the
Simulation period 200 years
lateral margin of the low-k lens where the CO2 plume

Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752 2745

Table 5 Mathematical representations of relative permeability, cap- the low-k lens was so slow that substantial amounts of CO2
illary pressure curves, and hysteresis effect were accumulated within the low-k lenses.
Drainage: n = 4.2, Sr = 0.1 Figure 4a–d shows the distribution of CO2 mass in case
krCO2 and krbr br Sr
S þS S 2 where the scales of the low-k lenses are shorter than those
m ¼ 1  1=n; Sbr ¼ S1S r
; St ¼ br 1S

  m 2 of case 1, and these lenses are distributed across all ranges

0:5 1=m
krbr ¼ Sbr 1  1  Sbr along the x-direction. Although the geospatial structure and
1=m m
1=m m 2
the distribution of the low-k lenses differ in cases 1 and 2,
krCO2 ¼ St  Sbr 1  Sbr  1  St the CO2 transport mechanisms are essentially the same as
krCO2 : Relative permeability of CO2; krbr : Relative those previously described. More CO2 escaped in case 2,
permeability of brine because the lateral extents of the low-k lenses are shorter
SCO2 : Saturation of CO2; Sbr : Relative permeability of than those of case 1. In case 2, even before the cessation of
brine CO2 injection, the CO2 plume has already reached the
Sr : Irreducible saturation of brine; n: Van Genuchten upper formation (RT1) by detouring around the low-
curve shape parameter
1 1
k lenses (Fig. 4a). Consequently, the CO2 arrival time at
Imbibition: Smax ¼ Sgrh  S1gh þ 1
gr the top of the model domain was shortened where the CO2
SCO2 Sgrh
SCO2 ðshiftedÞ ¼ Sgh Sgrh Sgh plume arrived earlier than year 50 (Fig. 4b), but in case 1
krCO2 ðSCO2 Þ ¼ krCO2 ðSCO2 ðshiftedÞÞ the arrival time was over 100 years (Fig. 3c).
For further quantitative characterization, mass fraction
gr : Maximum residual saturation; Sgh : SCO2 when
the shift to imbibition occurs of supercritical CO2 within each rock type and that of CO2
Sgrh : Sgr corresponding to Sgh dissolved in water were calculated as time evolved
Drainage and n = 4.2, Sr = 0.1, a = 5.2 9 10-4, b = 2
(Fig. 5a, b). Immediately after starting the CO2 injection,
imbibition:  1=n the CO2 mass fraction in the lower formation (RT2) started
1 1=m
Pc Pc ¼ ab Sbr 1 to decrease until the saturation of mobile CO2 reached the
Pc : Capillary pressure; a; b; n: Van Genuchten curve threshold of residual CO2 saturation. When all the mobile
shape parameter CO2 had disappeared so that only immobile CO2 remained
in the lower formation, the CO2 mass fraction reached a
constant value of approximately 0.18 in both cases. Spe-
cifically, the reduction rate of the CO2 mass fraction in case
migrated upward. The escaping CO2 plume at the margin 1 is slower than that in case 2. The different reduction rates
of the low-k lens was impeded again when the plume are closely related to the length of the low-k lenses (RT3).
encountered a subsequent low-k lens (Fig. 3b). Henceforth, For example, because the lengths of the low-k lenses are
the CO2 plume repeated the horizontal spreading until it short in case 2, CO2 can easily detour the low-k lenses,
reached the margins of the low-k lenses. In contrast to the resulting in large amounts of CO2 mass being able to reach
fast-flowing CO2 plume, by detouring around the low-k the upper formation in a relatively short time of less than
lenses, certain amounts of CO2 directly penetrated across 2 years (Fig. 5a). In case 1, with the long length of low-
the low-k lenses at a condition in which the cumulative k lenses, the CO2 mass arrived at the upper formation
pressure underneath the low-k lenses was large enough to 20 years later.
overcome the capillary entry pressure of the low-k lenses The changes of CO2 mass within the low-k lenses were
(Fig. 3b–d). The penetration rate of the CO2 plume through governed by the CO2 mass flowing in and out of these

(a) (b)

(c) (d)

Fig. 3 CO2 mass distribution (kg) in the deterministic case 1 domain shown in Fig. 1a at: a 2 years, b 50 years, c 100 years, and d 200 years

2746 Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752

(a) (b)

(c) (d)

Fig. 4 CO2 mass distribution (kg) in the deterministic case 2 domain shown in Fig. 2a at: a 2 years, b 50 years, c 100 years, and d 200 years

Fig. 5 Evolution of 1 1
supercritical- and dissolved- (a) (b)
Case 1
phase CO2 mass fraction: a CO2 Case 2
mass in upper (RT1) and lower 0.8 Lower 0.8
formation (RT2)
(RT2) formations and b CO2

Mass fraction of CO2

Mass fraction of CO2

mass in low-k lenses (RT3) and

dissolved in brine 0.6 0.6 Dissolved
in brine

0.4 0.4
formation (RT1)
Low k
0.2 0.2 lenses (RT3)

0 0
0 40 80 120 160 200 0 40 80 120 160 200
Time (year) Time (year)

lenses. When the CO2 mass flowing in the low-k lenses was further detail, multiple realizations from GCMC and SISIM
greater than that flowing out, the CO2 mass fraction within after conditioning the borehole logging data were
the low-k lenses increased, but when the CO2 mass flowing employed in cases 1 and 2. Then, numerical CO2 plume
in was smaller than that flowing out, the CO2 mass fraction migration models based on randomly selected 50 realiza-
decreased (Fig. 5b). Overall, the low-k lenses with longer tions are transiently simulated over 200 years.
extent (case 1) preserved more CO2. Finally, CO2 dissolved
in brine is approximately the same in both cases until year CO2 injection simulations on conditional stochastic
70, but after this year the amount of CO2 dissolved in brine fields
for case 2 is decreased distinctively. The reduction of the
CO2 dissolution rate in case 2 occurred due to the early Case 1
arrival of the CO2 plume at the topmost boundary where
CO2 and brine interactions are reduced due to the large Figure 6a, c shows the permeability distributions of case 1
amount of CO2 accumulation (Fig. 4c, d). Additionally, the from randomly selected GCMC and SISIM realizations,
residence time of CO2 mass in low-k lenses was greater in respectively. From two sequences of simulations, dissimi-
Case 1 than Case 2 (Figs. 3c, 4c). Thus, CO2 in Case 1 will larity of the spatial variation in CO2 leakage is observed at
have more time to interact with brine before it reaches the 100 years (Fig. 6b, d). The most peculiar difference is the
topmost layer, resulting in the increase in the amount of geometry of CO2 plume distribution, the leakage pathways,
dissolved CO2 in brine. and the amount of CO2 plume arrived at the topmost
In these two cases possessing different degrees of non- boundary of the model domain. As seen in the GCMC
stationarity, the CO2 mass distributions at three formations simulations (Fig. 6b), relatively large CO2 masses were
showed significant discrepancy with time, suggesting that accumulated in the injection formation (RT2) with large
the geostatistical configuration, structures, and patterns of lateral extent. In the upper (RT1) formation, the CO2 plume
the capping formation play important roles in the CO2 leakage occurred locally only to the left of the injection
storage and migration characteristics. Therefore, to tackle borehole. Due to the localized leakage processes, CO2 mass

Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752 2747

Fig. 6 a Representative k field chosen from GCMG realizations in realizations in case 1. d CO2 mass distribution (kg) at 100 years,
case 1. b CO2 mass distribution (kg) at 100 years, simulated in the simulated in the chosen SISIM k field
chosen GCMC k field. c Representative k field chosen from SISIM

was highly concentrated only at a few locations of the dependent on the detouring length of the migration path-
topmost boundary. In contrast, the CO2 plume predicted ways, which determines the probability of the CO2 plume
from SISIM realization leaked uniformly though RT1 contacting the CO2-unsaturated brine. For this reason, the
formation (Fig. 6d). Preliminarily judging from the single slight underestimation of the dissolved CO2 in brine rela-
realizations at GCMC and SISIM, the CO2 migration tive to the deterministic prediction implies that the pre-
simulation based on an SISIM realization overestimated dicted migration length of the CO2 plume in the GCMC
the leakage of the CO2 plume to the RT1 formation. This prediction is shorter than that of the deterministic
overestimation can also be foreseen by some degree in the prediction.
analysis of the ensemble probabilities map of SISIM In contrast to the transient evolution of CO2 mass
(Fig. 2c, ESM only) where the sizes of the low-k lenses fraction through the GCMC realizations, the SISIM real-
(RT3) were underestimated compared to those of the izations showed significant over- or underestimations
GCMC simulation (Fig. 1c, ESM only). However, it should subjected to deterministic predictions (Fig. 7). As dis-
be noted that the localized CO2 accumulation reaching the cussed earlier in the ensemble probability distributions in
topmost layer is less for SISIM than GCMC prediction. GCMC and SISIM (Figs. 1c, 2c, ESM only), the extent of
In Fig. 7, the mass fraction evolutions of supercritical the low-k lenses (RT3) was shorter in the SISIM predic-
CO2 within RT1, RT2, and RT3 formations and dissolved tions than in the GCMC predictions. For this reason, the
CO2 in brine from GCMC and SISIM realizations of case 1 CO2 mass fractions preserved in RT2 and RT3 are signif-
are plotted. The solid-black lines represent the determin- icantly underestimated in the SISIM-based simulations.
istic simulations shown in Figs. 3 and 5, and the dashed- Especially in the later time, most curves of the determin-
black lines show the arithmetic means calculated from istic CO2 mass fraction deviate outside the 99 % prediction
GCMC and SISIM realizations. The pink- and blue-shaded intervals, except the CO2 mass fraction in RT2. The
areas represent 99 and 80 % prediction intervals, respec- asymptotic levels of CO2 mass fractions in RT2 predicted
tively. In the GCMC realizations, the deterministic CO2 from GCMC, SISIM, and the deterministic simulations
mass fraction evolutions of the upper formation (RT1), were coincident after 100 years, suggesting that the amount
lower formation (RT2), low-k lenses (RT3), and dissolved of residually trapped CO2 in RT2 was not sensitive to the
CO2 in brine fall within the 80 % prediction intervals. In configurations or distributions of the low-k lenses (RT3).
detail, the deterministic lines do not coincide with the To obtain further quantitative comparisons of the sta-
simulated mean dashed lines. Rather, the CO2 mass frac- tistics in CO2 leakage masses, histograms representing the
tion from multiple realizations showed a certain range of CO2 mass fraction within RT1 are plotted from GCMC-
variation relative to the deterministic prediction, which and SISIM-based simulations, progressively from years 1
may be biased. The simulated mean of the CO2 mass through 200 (Fig. 5, ESM only). In the GCMC-based
fraction in RT1 was positively biased compared to the simulations, until year 10, the occurrence of CO2 mass
deterministic line, while those in RT3 and the dissolved fractions in RT1 was small and only a few predictions
CO2 in brine were slightly underestimated in their deter- showed meaningful CO2 leakage. For this reason, the his-
ministic predictions. The overestimation of the CO2 mass togram of CO2 mass fraction showed a log-normal or an
fraction in RT1 directly links to the underestimation of exponential distribution up to year 20. Between year 50
RT3 because the performance of low-k lenses is critical to and 100, the histograms evolved from the log-normal to the
determine the amount of CO2 mass leaving the lower half normal distribution, suggesting that vertical CO2 move-
of the simulated domain. The dissolved CO2 in brine is ment is distinct. The histograms of the SISIM-based

2748 Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752

Fig. 7 Mass fraction evolution of supercritical-phase CO2 predicted deterministic case and the means calculated from 50 GCMC and
from 50 GCMC and 50 SISIM realizations in case 1. Dark solid and SISIM realizations, respectively. Pink and blue-shaded areas repre-
dashed lines represent the evolution of CO2 mass fraction from the sent 99 and 80 % prediction intervals, respectively

predictions are similar to those of the GCMC to some Figure 9 shows the CO2 mass fraction evolutions at the
degree. However, the log-normal shaped histogram was upper formation (RT1), lower formation (RT2), low-
maintained only until year 2. Overall, the variances of k lenses (RT3), and dissolved CO2 in brine from case 2. In
histograms predicted from the SISIM are significantly the GCMC-based simulations, the mean of realized simu-
larger than those of the GCMC, and the mode of the his- lations slightly deviates from the deterministic curves,
togram is not as distinctive as the GCMC counterpart in the especially at the early time. Specifically, the CO2 mass
mid to later simulation time. Clearly, heterogeneity pre- fractions from the realized simulations were underesti-
diction from two different stochastic approaches controls mated relative to the deterministic curve in RT1 and,
the rate of CO2 plume migration to RT1; the leakage rate consequently, both RT2 and RT3 were overestimated. At
was faster in SISIM than in GCMC. the later simulation time, the deterministic curves mostly
The red- and blue-dashed lines indicate the CO2 mass fall within the 80 % prediction intervals and the degree of
fraction in RT1 predicted from the deterministic and the the over- or underestimation becomes less.
mode of multiple realizations, respectively (Fig. 5, ESM In contrast, the SISIM-based simulations show a wide
only). The disparity between the red- and blue-dashed lines range of prediction variations, resulting in both the 80 and
implies the degree of accuracy predicted from the sto- 99 % prediction intervals being noticeably wider than
chastic simulations. As seen, most deterministic values are those of the GCMC-based simulations. Nevertheless, the
located close to the predictive mode of the GCMG-based means of the SISIM-based simulations generally match
simulations, but significantly deviate from the mode of the with the deterministic prediction better than those of the
SISIM-based simulations. GCMC-based simulations. The superior predictions of
mean CO2 mass fraction by the SISIM-based simulations
Case 2 can be attributed to the better correlation scale represented
by the SISIM ensemble probability map of RT3 (Fig. 4c,
Two representative realizations of case 2 are plotted in ESM only). In addition, a larger variance of SISIM-based
Fig. 8a and c. Figure 8b, d is the associated CO2 plume simulations can be foreseen in the diffused ensemble
distributions at year 100, and the benchmark deterministic probability distribution of RT3. From this analysis, the
prediction of the CO2 plume distribution in the same year is SISIM-based prediction could be more suited for the field
plotted in Fig. 4c. The upward flux of the CO2 mass from the conditions where heterogeneity structures show stationarity
GCMC and SISIM realizations reasonably matches with the similar to the synthetic case 2. However, the large vari-
deterministic prediction. At the topmost boundary, CO2 ances associated with SISIM-based predictions may cause
mass was more concentrated in GCMC simulations. Nev- additional problems in practice.
ertheless, it can be noted that geostatistical predictions from Finally, histograms representing the CO2 mass fraction
both GCMC and SISIM work better in Case 2 than in Case 1. in RT1 are drawn from GCMC and SISIM (Fig. 6, ESM

Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752 2749

Fig. 8 a Representative k field chosen from GCMG realizations in realizations in case 2. d CO2 mass distribution (kg) at 100 years,
case 2. b CO2 mass distribution (kg) at 100 years, simulated in the simulated in the chosen SISIM k field
chosen GCMC k field. c Representative k field chosen from SISIM

Fig. 9 Mass fraction evolution of supercritical-phase CO2 predicted deterministic case and the means calculated from 50 GCMC and 50
from 50 GCMC and 50 SISIM realizations in case 2. Dark solid and SISIM realizations, respectively. Pink and blue-shaded areas repre-
dashed lines represent the evolution of CO2 mass fraction from the sent 99 and 80 % prediction intervals, respectively

only). In the histogram of the GCMC-based predictions of Even though the means of the distribution match with the
case 2, a similar transition from a log-normal to a normal deterministic prediction better, considerable uncertainty is
distribution as that in case 1 is observed. Compared to case associated with SISIM-based prediction due to the non-
1, this transition occurs relatively quickly. The earlier regular distribution and higher standard deviation of the
transition in case 2 indicates the earlier arrival of the CO2 predictions.
plume to RT1, which is due to the relatively short corre-
lation length of the low-k lenses in the x-direction. The Estimation of CO2 leakage potentials at the topmost layer
histograms of the SISIM-based predictions slightly differ
from those of the GCMC-based simulation. The histogram The CO2 mass that accumulated at the topmost model
seems to be closer to the mixture of a log-normal and a domain 200 years later was quantified from deterministic
normal to a uniform distribution rather than a single log- cases and the ensembles of the Monte Carlo simulations
normal distribution in the early simulation time. Also, the based on GCMC and SISIM of Cases 1 and 2. In Fig. 7a
variance of the histograms is considerably wider than that (ESM only), the CO2 mass distribution (black) estimated
of GCMC-based predictions. The non-regularity of the from the deterministic case 1 showed two modes at x = 1.8
transient histogram continued to the end of the simulations. and 2.2 km with the localized CO2 accumulation. The

2750 Environ Earth Sci (2014) 71:2739–2752

ensemble of CO2 mass prediction from GCMC (blue) especially at the early time. In contrast, the SISIM-pre-
showed dispersed leakage potential and consequently the dicted means generally show good agreement with the
integrated CO2 mass under the curve was overestimated deterministic prediction, but show a wide ranges of pre-
relative to the deterministic prediction. The modes of diction variances. Both simulations suggested that the sizes
GCMC ensembles were at x = 1.6, 2.2, and 2.7 km, which of the low-k lenses were critical to determine the amount of
are similar to the modes of the deterministic estimation. In CO2 leaking to RT1. However, the amount of residually
contrast, the ensemble mass predicted from SISIM (red) trapped CO2 remaining in RT2 was fairly consistent in all
shows highly dispersed leakage potential implying the fast realizations and was less sensitive to the variations of the
arrival of CO2 mass at the broad area. CO2 mass leakage low-k lens sizes or structures. Finally, CO2 mass dissolved
potential follows a bell-shaped distribution with single in brine was governed by the length of the migration
mode at x = 1.8 km. Overall, it may be concluded that the pathway.
leakage potential from GCMC simulation shows better Throughout the comprehensive ‘‘Monte Carlo’’-typed
predictability compared to that from SISIM in Case 1. analyses, the study suggests that geostatistical prediction is
In Case 2 representing stationary field, more CO2 mass a useful tool for characterizations of subsurface heteroge-
evidently accumulated at the topmost model domain neities where the information is significantly limited and
compared to Case 1 (Fig. 7b, ESM only). In the deter- the uncertainties affect critically various decisions on the
ministic estimation from Case 2, there exist clear modes at geologic CO2 sequestration sites. In the situation, every
x = 1.2, 1.7, and 2.4 km where the mode at x = 1.7 km is conceivable tools as well as supportive information need to
the most peculiar. The ensemble predictions from both be incorporated to limit the uncertainty. In the present
GCMC and SISIM are similar to the deterministic one. The study, considerations on geostatistical models are high-
predicted mode of the ensemble based on GCMC is at lighted by assuming that only a few borehole data are
x = 1.6 km and that of SISIM at x = 1.7 km, which available. In real practices, geostatistical subsurface esti-
indicates the slightly better predictability of SISIM at the mations are generally adopted. There could be more dif-
topmost layer. ferent types of data including geophysical information,
geological inferences of the experts, etc., which might limit
the uncertainties due to the absence of direct information
Summary and conclusions and result in improved predictions on the subsurface.
Nevertheless, the present study will provide useful infor-
The presented study focused on understanding the uncer- mation as a worst case where the information on subsurface
tainties of two non-parametric geostatistical applications is extremely limited, in which a choice of geostatistical
(GCMC and SISIM) in subsurface heterogeneity and their models could be sensitive to the final decision depending
associated effects on CO2 plume migration predictions. on their capability of handling spatial non-stationarity in a
Two hypothetical models were developed. In case 1, rep- suitable manner.
resenting a weakly non-stationary field, only four wide-
ranging low-k lenses existed around the mid-x and -y loca- Acknowledgments This work was jointly supported by ‘‘Technol-
ogy development for CO2 geological storage demonstration through
tions. On the other hand, in case 2 representing a stationary participating in the Canadian projects (2011T100100331)’’ of the
field, the scales of the low-k lenses were relatively short Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and ‘‘Block funding projects
compared to those in case 1, and were distributed across (GP2012-030)’’ of Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral
almost the entire range along the x-direction. Resources (KIGAM) transferred from the Korea Institute of Energy
Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grants.
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in more CO2 leakage to the upper formation. For this
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