Concept of In-Situ Laboratory for monitoring CO2 leakage processes. Injection of CO2 mimics a secondary CO2 accumulation due to leakage from a deep reservoir. Potential leakage processes to the ground surface include: 1) leakage along well due to inadequate cementing, 2) leakage along faults and 3) leakage through zones of weakness in sealing units. Potential emissions sources at the ground surface are identified by a red asterisk.

The In-Situ Laboratory is a research field site for conducting controlled release experiments of carbon dioxide and other gases, and for developing technologies for detecting and monitoring the migration of fluids in the shallow subsurface. It provides industry and research organisations with unique testing opportunities of monitoring systems in support of regulatory requirements for low emissions technologies associated with the geological storage of carbon dioxide, unconventional gas production, groundwater protection, subsurface energy storage, and geothermal applications. Furthermore, the geological setting provides opportunities to investigate the impacts and nature of fluid migration in fault zones.

The research site was established through funding from the federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) and is operated in a partnership between CSIRO and the Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).

Developing M&V technologies for low emissions subsurface technologies

Monitoring the migration of fluids in the subsurface has become increasingly important for the energy industry to comply with environmental regulations and to maintain social license to operate. Regulations are being developed or updated with more and more stringent monitoring requirements for industries such as CO2 geological storage, unconventional gas production and geothermal applications.

The In-Situ Lab provides a unique testing ground for developing monitoring and mitigation schemes, not only for carbon storage but also related to the storage and production of fluids in the subsurface in general, including:

  • Development of reservoir surveillance technologies and data analytics with emphasis on fibre optic sensing research
  • Underground energy storage
  • Groundwater protection and geothermal applications
  • Gas migration in the shallow subsurface and fugitive emissions
  • Passive seismic monitoring and induced seismicity
  • Characterisation of fluid flow in fault and fracture systems
  • Well construction and abandonment