The microseismic response at the In Salah Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) site

Anna L. Stork*, James P. Verdon, J. Michael Kendall

*Corresponding author for this work

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

63 Citations (Scopus)
438 Downloads (Pure)


In 2004, injection of carbon dioxide (CO2) to be stored at depth began at the In Salah Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) site and a pilot microseismic monitoring array was installed in 2009. The In Salah project presents an unusual dataset since it is the first major non-Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) CCS project to be monitored for microseismicity. This paper outlines an extensive seismological study using a range of techniques, relying mainly on data from a single three-component geophone. Important information is derived from the data, such as event locations, event magnitudes and fracture characteristics, that could be used in real-time to regulate the geomechanical response of a site to CO2 injection. The event rate closely follows the CO2 injection rate, with a total of 9506 seismic events detected. The locations for a carefully selected subset of events are estimated to occur at or below the injection interval, thereby ruling out fault or fracture activation caused by CO2 migration at shallow depths. A very small number of events (11) with less well-constrained locations may have occurred above the injection interval. However, there is no microseismic evidence that these events are correlated with CO2 injection and we suggest they are caused by stress transfer rather than CO2 migration into the caprock. The observed maximum moment magnitude, Mw=1.7, is consistent with estimated fracture dimensions at the injection depth. Fracture orientation estimated using shear-wave splitting analysis is approximately NW-SE, in agreement with fracture orientations inferred from logging data. During periods of high injection rates the degree of anisotropy increases slightly and then falls back to original values when injection rates fall. This implies the CO2 is opening pre-existing fractures which then close as pressure decreases.This an important proof-of-concept study that proves the value of microseismic monitoring of CCS projects, even with a limited array. We thus recommend that microseismic monitoring arrays are installed prior to CO2 injection at future CCS sites to enhance our understanding by making baseline and comparative studies possible. This would also provide real-time monitoring of the geomechanical response to injection, allowing operators to modify injection parameters and to help ensure the safe operation of a project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Early online date9 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Carbon capture and storage
  • CCS
  • Microseismic monitoring


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