Nano- to macro-scale structural, mineralogical, and mechanical alterations in a shale reservoir induced by exposure to supercritical CO2

Ogochukwu Ozotta, Oladoyin Kolawole, Mohamed Lamine Malki, Tobi Ore, Thomas Gentzis, Hallie Fowler, Kouqi Liu, Mehdi Ostadhassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Considering the importance of carbon neutrality, UCCUS which is underground carbon capture, utilization, and storage has been widely adopted to mitigate climate change. Studies are being conducted to improve this process, however, there is still a lack of knowledge on the multiscale physicochanical alterations that the storage reservoirs may endure due to the long-term exposure to supercritical CO2 (ScCO2). These changes happen from nano- to macro-scale in mineralogy and pore structures which will impact mechanical and petrophysical attributes of the host rock. Since unconventional shale reservoirs have become the target of CO2-EOR and CO2 storage, it is imperative to understand the long-term impact of these alterations due to ScCO2 exposure. This study coupled experimental and theoretical modeling to investigate continuous nano- to macro-scale changes in mechanical, mineralogical, and structural alterations in the Middle Bakken by exposing samples to ScCO2 for 3, 8, 16, 30 and 60 days. Qualitative analysis of electron micrographs pre and post exposure confirmed certain minerals have evolved while image processing showed a quantitative change in pore structures. Moreover, nanomechanical changes pre and post exposure were inspected via nanoindentation method. Furthermore, we assessed how mineral content was impacted during the exposure using X-ray diffraction analysis. Next, we adopted two rock physics models based on mechanical and mineralogical observations to upscale mechanical properties to the macro scale. Analyses of the results indicate that long-term ScCO2 exposure induces mineral dissolution, precipitation and the development of fractures in the host reservoir. Further, CO2 induced alterations can lead to long-term macro-scale weakening causing a loss in mechanical integrity of the Middle Bakken by decreasing its elastic modulus (DS model = –33 %, MT model = -30 %) and increasing its Poisson's ratio (DS model = +38 %, MT model = +32 %). Overall, this study can provide new insights for a better design and implementation of UCCUS projects in shale reservoirs, most especially in the Middle Bakken and other similar formations, where a lack of understanding of these variations and project planning could lead to potential CO2 leakages and environmental hazards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120051
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Nov 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Bakken Formation
  • CO Storage
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Microstructure evolution
  • Nanomechanical properties
  • Shale


Dive into the research topics of 'Nano- to macro-scale structural, mineralogical, and mechanical alterations in a shale reservoir induced by exposure to supercritical CO2'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this