A novel system has been deployed to obtain geochemical samples of water and gas, at in situ pressure, during a geologic CO2 sequestration experiment conducted in the Frio brine aquifer in Liberty County, Texas. Project goals required high-frequency recovery of representative and uncontaminated aliquots of a rapidly changing two-phase fluid (supercritical CO2 and brine) fluid from 1.5 km depth. The data sets collected, using both the liquid and gas portions of the downhole samples, provide insights into the coupled hydrogeochemical issues affecting CO2 sequestration in brine-filled formations. While the basic premise underlying the U-tube sampler is not new, the system is unique because careful consideration was given to the processing of the recovered two-phase fluids. In particular, strain gauges mounted beneath the high-pressure surface sample cylinders measured the ratio of recovered brine to supercritical CO2. A quadrupole mass spectrometer provided real-time gas analysis for perfluorocarbon and noble gas tracers that were injected along with the CO2. The U-tube successfully acquired frequent samples, facilitating accurate delineation of the arrival of the CO2 plume, and on-site analysis revealed rapid changes in geochemical conditions. Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.
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The U-tube: A novel system for acquiring borehole fluid samples from a deep geologic CO2 sequestration experiment