Organic-rich shale caprock properties of potential CO2 storage sites in the northern North Sea, offshore Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- NGI articles 
Original versionMarine and Petroleum Geology. 2020, 122 . 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2020.104665
Assessment of the geomechanical properties of organic-rich shale caprocks is critical for a successful CO2 storage into a saline aquifer. In this study, we investigated the geochemical properties of the organic-rich shale caprocks of the Draupne and Heather formations, overlying the potential sandstone reservoirs of Sognefjord, Fensfjord, and Krossfjord formations in the northern North Sea, offshore Norway. The caprock’s depositional variations within the sub-basins are established by analyzing the gamma-ray shape and stacking patterns. The effect due to differences in depositional environments, on the caprock compaction behavior is investigated by integrating petrographical analysis of core and cutting samples from 3 wells and by rock physical analysis of wireline log data from 27 exploration wells. Three rock physics templates are used where the wireline log data are interpreted using the published background trends. The effect of kerogen type, maturation level, and deposition environment on caprock properties within the study area are also evaluated. Moreover, the caprock property, such as brittleness, is estimated by using four mineralogy and elastic property-based, empirical relations, which is a quantitative measure of caprock property with respect to changes in stress-state. Finally, the seismic inversion method is assessed for the possibility of extracting caprock properties from surface seismic data. Regardless of compaction processes, the results indicate that the Heather Formation is mechanically stronger than the Draupne Formation. However, both formations appear to be ductile in nature. The depositional environments control the mineralogical composition and fabric of the Draupne and Heather formations, which influence the caprock properties significantly. Results also show that the effect of TOC on caprock properties is insignificant in the study area. The brittleness of the organic-rich shale caprocks in the study area follows a different trend compared to the published trends. We also observed an excellent correlation between the log-derived elastic properties and geomechanical parameters. Still, it is difficult to assess the caprock elastic properties from seismic due to the overlap of data clusters. The evaluation of caprock geomechanical behaviors is challenging as these properties are site-specific and also influenced by other factors such as exhumation, in-situ stress conditions, the existence of natural fractures, and their orientations.