Western Michigan University is one of 40 partners in an eight state research consortium, the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, led by Battelle. Michigan’s industry partner is Core Energy, LLC. The Michigan Geological Repository for Research’s role in the partnership involved examining and sampling cores archived here to determine their reservoir characteristics, such as porosity and permeability, and using that data in modeling to better understand the geology and fluid-flow characteristics of the rocks. Funded by the Department of Energy, the MRCSP is part of a larger-scale strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. The partnership is one of seven regional partnerships set up to assess the technical potential, economic viability and public acceptance of carbon sequestration within each region.
Michigan’s porous rocks have the largest capacity to store CO2 of all the states in the country, providing Michigan with excellent opportunities for addressing CO2 problems through geologic sequestration. Preliminary investigations show that hundreds of gigatons of CO2 can be sequestered in Michigan underground formations. This represents potential storage of hundreds of years’ emissions at current levels. From 2003 to 2005, the partnership carried out a detailed assessment of each region’s potential to store CO2 and defined possible field demonstration sites. One such site was identified in northern Michigan. That site was one of several involved in small-scale field tests (2005 to 2010) to assess the sequestration potential in the region. Now in the final phase, the partnership is now conducting a larger-scale injection of CO2 into a few Niagaran pinnacle reef oil fields at that site in Otsego County, Michigan.
Combining CO2 Sequestration with enhanced oil recovery to reduce global warming and produce more domestic energy
Large volumes of technically recoverable domestic oil resources remain undeveloped or are yet to be discovered in the United States. The EOR potential associated with CO2 represents a large portion of this potential. Undeveloped U.S. domestic oil resources that are still in the ground (in-place) total 1,124 billion barrels. Of this large in-place resource, 430 billion barrels are estimated to be technically recoverable. This resource includes undiscovered oil, "stranded" light oil amenable to CO2 EOR technologies, unconventional oil (deep heavy oil and tar sands) and new petroleum concepts (residual oil in reservoir transition zones). Michigan is typical of mature basins where initial wells produced only about 30 percent of the hydrocarbons in place. Using CO2 injection to increase formation pressure and reduce oil viscosity can produce another 20 percent, potentially bringing millions of additional barrels of oil to production annually.