The Core has Arrived at MSU!

This week, researchers at Montana State University (MSU) received a much anticipated mail delivery: rock core samples from the first two wells at Kevin Dome!

Sectioned off into manageable pieces, and catalogued to correspond to their respective depths of origin, roughly 7,000 pounds of rock samples (some originating from greater than 4,000 feet below the surface) are now available for further study at the MSU core storage facility.

Specifically, these samples, including 180 feet of core from the production well and 270 feet of core from the monitoring well, will provide valuable information on the geologic subsurface setting. Already, these samples were shipped to Schlumberger’s TerraTek Labratories in Salt Lake City where routine analyses, including porosity and permeability tests, were completed.

With the core samples now at MSU, Dr. Dave Bowen, Dr. Colin Shaw, Dr. Dave Lageson and Dr. Mark Skidmore will carry out more sophisticated analyses. Additionally, samples will be shipped to and studied at Columbia University and National Laboratories across the country, including Idaho National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Ultimately, these samples will allow researchers to have a more in-depth understanding of the rock properties of both the caprock and the carbon dioxide (CO2) reservoir rock where the CO2 will be injected. Caprock is the dense and impermeable rock layer which effectively seals the CO2 underground — preventing it from migrating to the surface once injected. The data from the core analyses will be used to update geologic models, plan for future project activity and understand how the CO2, once injected, will behave in the subsurface environment.

All in all, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Shaw and MSU Earth Sciences graduate students, we are very excited to have the MSU core storage facility up and running. Most importantly, we look forward to the exciting geologic experiments and data that will yield from this unique rock core collection.