Dynamic characterization of geologic CO2 storage aquifers from monitoring data with ensemble Kalman filter

Wei MA, Behnam JAFARPOUR*, Joe QIN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Monitoring the evolution of the CO2 plume during geologic storage is essential for conformance, verification, and risk assessment and mitigation. Monitoring data also play a critical role in characterizing the storage formation and improving the reliability of predictive models. We investigate the feasibility of using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) data assimilation framework to estimate the hydraulic properties of storage formations and to predict the migration of CO2 plume from monitoring measurements, including transient pressure and saturation data at scattered wells and time-lapse seismic data (modeled as vertically-averaged saturation differences in time). To properly account for the uncertainty in the knowledge about saline aquifer properties, the initial ensemble of formation properties is generated based on uncertain statistical model (variogram) parameters. While integration of data from scattered wells provides limited improvement in reducing the uncertainty in the initial ensemble, assimilation of time-lapse seismic measurements (represented by vertically-averaged saturation differences in time) with the EnKF leads to more noticeable uncertainty reduction and reasonable estimates of the general connectivity trends in aquifer hydraulic properties. The estimation and sensitivity analysis results suggest important differences in filter performance during and after CO2 injection. This difference is attributed to the change in flow behavior and the dominant forces before and after injection (pressure versus gravitational forces, respectively). Additionally, when prior model realizations miss essential flow-related elements (e.g., fractures) in an aquifer, the filter provides out-of-range updates, which could be interpreted as a systematic problem in the filter design, in this case possible inconsistency in the prior models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-215
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This project was sponsored in part by support from Energi Simulation. The numerical simulations in this manuscript were performed using the Eclipse software donated by Schlumberger.


  • CO2 storage monitoring
  • Ensemble Kalman filter
  • Geologic CO2 storage
  • Monitoring data assimilation


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