Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT)
200 University Ave. W
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567
Geochemical and isotopic proxies for paleoenvironment, water-rock interactions, and tracking CO2 and brine leakage
Dr. Thai Phan, ORISE Postdoctoral Fellow , U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA
Isotope ratios of elements in water and sedimentary rock samples encode useful information about the sources and processes that have influenced the samples. My primary research interests are to study water–rock interactions, and geological and environmental processes associated with aqueous fluid circulation in both natural and engineered natural systems. This presentation covers some of the applications of both traditional (C, O) and non-traditional radiogenic and stable (Li, B, Sr, Sm-Nd, and U) isotopes in understanding: (1) sediment sources and depositional conditions of Marcellus Shale and (2) geological processes related to unconventional shale gas extraction and geological CO2 storage. These processes include geochemical evolution of wastewater co-produced with natural gas recovered from hydraulically fractured shale reservoirs, CO2-brine-rock interaction processes, and tracking CO2 and brine leakage into groundwater aquifers. Such information is critical for not only wastewater management and environmental mitigation strategies but also natural gas recovery to make sure that resource development is more effective and safer to the environment.
The results to date showed that Marcellus Shale produced water is primarily controlled by mixing of the fracturing fluid and highly saline formation water with negligible contribution from dissolution of reservoir minerals. In addition, we found no evidence of CO2 or brine leakage into the overlying groundwater aquifers due to CO2 injection or shale gas extraction activities at the study areas.
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1