Comparison of geomechanical deformation induced by megatonne-scale CO2 storage at Sleipner, Weyburn, and In Salah

James P. Verdon*, J M Kendall, Anna L. Stork, R. Andy Chadwick, Don J. White, Rob C. Bissell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Geological storage of CO2 that has been captured at large, point source emitters represents a key potential method for reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. However, this technology will only be viable if it can be guaranteed that injected CO2 will remain trapped in the subsurface for thousands of years or more. A significant issue for storage security is the geomechanical response of the reservoir. Concerns have been raised that geomechanical deformation induced by CO2 injection will create or reactivate fracture networks in the sealing caprocks, providing a pathway for CO2 leakage. In this paper, we examine three large-scale sites where CO2 is injected at rates of similar to 1 megatonne/y or more: Sleipner, Weyburn, and In Salah. We compare and contrast the observed geomechanical behavior of each site, with particular focus on the risks to storage security posed by geomechanical deformation. At Sleipner, the large, high-permeability storage aquifer has experienced little pore pressure increase over 15 y of injection, implying little possibility of geomechanical deformation. At Weyburn, 45 y of oil production has depleted pore pressures before increases associated with CO2 injection. The long history of the field has led to complicated, sometimes nonintuitive geomechanical deformation. At In Salah, injection into the water leg of a gas reservoir has increased pore pressures, leading to uplift and substantial microseismic activity. The differences in the geomechanical responses of these sites emphasize the need for systematic geomechanical appraisal before injection in any potential storage site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2762-E2771
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2013


  • carbon sequestration
  • geomechanics
  • InSAR
  • microseismic monitoring

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