Seismic testing team makes waves near Craig Station

Near Craig, Colo., the Rocky Mountain Carbon Capture and Sequestration team is researching the potential for carbon dioxide storage underground, or sequestration. The project will evaluate the sequestration potential of deep saline aquifers on a large, Laramide-age structure south of Craig.

The project is important due to the location of Craig Station and has regional implications because the Entrada and Dakota formations are widespread in the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau. Given the rock formations’ size, it conceivably could serve as a regional sequestration sink for future power plants, natural gas processing plants, cement plants, oil shale development and other industries that are a significant part of western Colorado’s economy.

The team completed seismic testing last month on potential well sites near Craig Station and Trapper Mine. Receivers, called geophones, are installed at the surface to register echoes from geological layers.  To create the echoes, or waves, special “vibraseis” trucks are used. The trucks are equipped with large pads that send vibrations through the earth.

To handle the winter conditions, dozers, owned and operated by a local construction company, were used to clear the snow from the lines and position the vibraseis vehicles. The construction company also provided tracked trucks called Haaglunds to carry the seismograph and cables and snowmobiles for moving people around in off-road conditions.

The next step is to assimilate this data, along with data collected by the Colorado Geologic Survey from wells previously drilled in the area, to create a geologic model of the subsurface. This will allow the University of Utah to develop computer models simulating injection of CO2 into the site in three perspective sandstone formations at depths ranging from 7,000’ to 9,500’ below surface. Later in the summer a well will be drilled to a depth of 9,600’ gathering detailed rock, fluid and petrophysical data from the site.

Project partners include Colorado Geological Survey, Arizona Geological Survey, Utah Geological Survey, New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources, Tri-State G&T and Schlumberger Carbon Services.

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