Experimental and simulation study of carbon dioxide, brine, and muscovite surface interactions

CM Tenney and T Dewers and K Chaudhary and EN Matteo and MB Cardenas and RT Cygan, JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 155, 78-88 (2017).

DOI: 10.1016/j.petrol.2016.10.010

Capture and subsequent geologic storage of CO2 in deep brine reservoirs plays a significant role in plans to reduce atmospheric carbon emission and resulting global climate change. Subsurface injection of CO2 is also used industrially in enhanced oil and natural gas recovery operations to increase the amount of hydrocarbon that can be economically recovered from a geologic reservoir. The interaction of CO2 and brine species with mineral surfaces controls the ultimate fate of injected CO2 at the nanoscale via surface chemistry, at the pore scale via capillary trapping, and at the field-scale via relative permeability. High resolution micro X-ray CT scanning, optical contact angle measurements, and large scale molecular dynamics simulations were used to investigate the behavior of supercritical CO2 and aqueous fluids on basal surfaces of muscovite, a common phyllosilicate mineral. Experimental results demonstrate partial wetting by the aqueous phase and a dependence of contact angle upon aqueous phase brine composition. This contrasts with simulation results, which predict that supercritical CO2 forms a non- wetting droplet, separated from direct interaction with the muscovite surface by distinct layers of water and charged species. Simulations with trace amounts of acetate or acetic acid added to the CO2/water/mineral system were used to investigate the potential effect of contamination with small organic molecules. While the observed contact angle was not significantly altered, these simulations demonstrate the influence of pH on species partitioning, with acetic acid molecules partitioning to the CO2/water interface and acetate ions adsorbing to the mineral surface. Similar simulations using hexanoate displayed a greater surfactant effect and significantly increased wetting by the CO2 phase, suggesting that small concentrations of secondary species or contaminants can significantly influence macroscopic wetting behavior.

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