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Extramural Research

Expert-Based Development of a Site-Specifc Standard in CO2 Sequestration Monitoring Technology

EPA Grant Number: R834384
Title: Expert-Based Development of a Site-Specifc Standard in CO2 Sequestration Monitoring Technology
Investigators: Nicot, Jean-Philippe , Hovorka, Susan D.
Current Investigators: Nicot, Jean-Philippe , Hovorka, Susan D. , Mickler, Pat , Remington, Randy L , Sava, Diana , Sun, Alex , Yang, Changbing , Zeidouni, Mehdi
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period: December 1, 2009 through November 30, 2012 (Extended to November 30, 2013)
Project Amount: $899,958
RFA: Integrated Design, Modeling, and Monitoring of Geologic Sequestration of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide to Safeguard Sources of Drinking Water (2009)
Research Category: Drinking Water


The purpose of this project is to help regulators and operators alike in determining the most appropriate monitoring approaches and strategy for a given CO2 sequestration site. A monitoring strategy differs from a list of tools because it is designed as a dynamic process where the type of monitoring tool selected, type of test, and the frequency with which measurements are made changes depending on the results of the last set of measurements. The monitoring strategy should be tailored to the sequestration site and based on the extensive site characterization that is the main tool to ensure that CO2 is retained in zone. However, no guidance currently exists for the site operator or regulator to determine how to match the site with the technologies.


The proposed research will:

  1. Quantitatively evaluate potential monitoring strategies to select an array of strategies and guidelines for application to specific sites;
  2. Test the results of evaluation against the growing array of field measurements, gathered from past and current BEG (UT Austin Bureau of Economic Geology) test sites (Frio, SACROC (Scurry Area Canyon Reef Operators Committee), Cranfield), DOE partnership program, and elsewhere, especially abroad;
  3. Develop widespread consensus that these strategies are adequate when properly applied, and
  4. Compile a test/teaching set of cases for testing strategies and then train practitioners in applying the strategies to an array of sites.


The novel element of this project’s approach, which also involves a comprehensive literature search, consists in tapping the expert knowledge of 10-15 specialists from around the world in addition to the expertise accumulated at the BEG in the past decade. We will convene a panel of experts to a workshop in the second year of the project in which panelists will bring substantiation to all literature-based findings from real projects. The panel will also work remotely as well as through conference calls during the 3-year project.

Expected Results:

We propose to produce (1) a series of nomographs/plots/tables or other multidimensional diagrams plotting detection limits vs. other parameters such as depth, CO2 saturation, heterogeneity, formation lithology (carbonate, clastic), etc.; and (2) a final report that could be used as a “Best Management Practices” manual for monitoring strategies. Such information will help in minimizing risk through judicious application of monitoring techniques.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 17 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 15 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

risk assessment, leakage, expert panel,

Progress and Final Reports:
2010 Progress Report
2011 Progress Report
2012 Progress Report
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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