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Rapid microbial methanogenesis during CO₂ storage in hydrocarbon reservoirs

Tyne, R. L. and Barry, P. H. and Lawson, M. and Byrne, D. J. and Warr, O. and Xie, H. and Hillegonds, D. J. and Formolo, M. and Summers, Z. M. and Skinner, B. and Eiler, J. M. and Ballentine, C. J. (2021) Rapid microbial methanogenesis during CO₂ storage in hydrocarbon reservoirs. Nature, 600 (7890). pp. 670-674. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-04153-3. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20220103-543401100

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Abstract

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a key technology to mitigate the environmental impact of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. An understanding of the potential trapping and storage mechanisms is required to provide confidence in safe and secure CO₂ geological sequestration. Depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs have substantial CO₂ storage potential1,3, and numerous hydrocarbon reservoirs have undergone CO₂ injection as a means of enhanced oil recovery (CO₂-EOR), providing an opportunity to evaluate the (bio)geochemical behaviour of injected carbon. Here we present noble gas, stable isotope, clumped isotope and gene-sequencing analyses from a CO₂-EOR project in the Olla Field (Louisiana, USA). We show that microbial methanogenesis converted as much as 13–19% of the injected CO₂ to methane (CH4) and up to an additional 74% of CO₂ was dissolved in the groundwater. We calculate an in situ microbial methanogenesis rate from within a natural system of 73–109 millimoles of CH4 per cubic metre (standard temperature and pressure) per year for the Olla Field. Similar geochemical trends in both injected and natural CO₂ fields suggest that microbial methanogenesis may be an important subsurface sink of CO₂ globally. For CO₂ sequestration sites within the environmental window for microbial methanogenesis, conversion to CH4 should be considered in site selection.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04153-3DOIArticle
https://doi.org/10.5285/a4070f5d-2064-4caf-a82c-79a786d6af9eDOIData
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bioproject/PRJNA744568Related ItemData
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Tyne, R. L.0000-0003-1316-3119
Barry, P. H.0000-0002-6960-1555
Lawson, M.0000-0003-2743-3773
Warr, O.0000-0001-8240-7979
Xie, H.0000-0001-5656-2035
Eiler, J. M.0000-0001-5768-7593
Ballentine, C. J.0000-0001-9382-070X
Alternate Title:Rapid microbial methanogenesis during CO2 storage in hydrocarbon reservoirs
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Received 06 March 2021; Accepted 14 October 2021; Published 22 December 2021. R.L.T. was supported by a Natural Environment Research Council studentship (grant reference NE/L002612/1). C.J.B. and P.H.B. acknowledge A. Regberg and B. Meurer for their support of the project and help with sample collection. C.J.B. was part supported by an Earth4D CIFAR fellowship. P.H.B. was supported by NSF awards 1923915 and 2015789. O.W. was supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery and Accelerator grants awarded to the Sherwood Lollar research group and acknowledges B. Sherwood Lollar’s support for the project. Z.M.S. acknowledges J. Biddle and G. Christman for their help in generating the microbial data. Data availability: The geochemical data that support the findings of this study are available in the NERC EDS National Geoscience Data Centre at https://doi.org/10.5285/a4070f5d-2064-4caf-a82c-79a786d6af9e. The microbial SRA and biosample data can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bioproject/PRJNA744568. Source data are provided with this paper. Author Contributions: The project was conceived by R.L.T., P.H.B., M.L. and C.J.B. R.L.T. performed the noble gas isotopic analysis, managed the project and prepared the first draft of the manuscript. P.H.B. collected the samples. Z.M.S., H.X. and B.S. conducted the microbial, clumped isotope and molecular geochemical analysis, respectively. Clumped isotope modelling was developed by H.X. and J.M.E. Integrated noble gas and stable isotope modelling was developed by R.L.T., P.H.B., M.L., C.J.B., O.W. and D.J.B. All authors contributed to the final manuscript. Competing interests: M.F. and B.S. are employed by/an employee of ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions Company. Z.M.S. is employed by/an employee of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. When the manuscript was first submitted, M.L. was employed by/an employee of ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions Company. M.L. is now employed by/an employee of Aker BP. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions Company, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, or Aker BP. Peer review information: Nature thanks Werner Aeschbach, Jenna Shelton and Marc Strous for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/L002612/1
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)UNSPECIFIED
NSFOCE-1923915
NSFOCE-2015789
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Environmental impact; Hydrology
Issue or Number:7890
DOI:10.1038/s41586-021-04153-3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220103-543401100
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20220103-543401100
Official Citation:Tyne, R.L., Barry, P.H., Lawson, M. et al. Rapid microbial methanogenesis during CO2 storage in hydrocarbon reservoirs. Nature 600, 670–674 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04153-3
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:112650
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Jan 2022 18:32
Last Modified:03 Jan 2022 18:32

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