IEA Weyburn CO2 monitoring project gets funding

Canadian officials last week announced plans to fund a project monitoring the capture and storage of carbon dioxide in Saskatchewan's Weyburn oil field. 'Storing carbon dioxide underground is a key option for helping Canada and the world meet the climate change challenge,' said a statement from field operator PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd.


Canadian officials last week announced plans to fund a project monitoring the capture and storage of carbon dioxide in Saskatchewan's Weyburn oil field. "Storing carbon dioxide underground is a key option for helping Canada and the world meet the climate change challenge," said field operator PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd. in a statement.

The project builds on PanCanadian's enhanced oil recovery project at Weyburn, which contains one of the largest medium-sour crude oil reservoirs in Canada, with original oil in place of 1.4 billion bbl (OGJ, Oct. 18, 1999, p. 70). First announced in 1997, the project uses innovative technology to pump CO2 into the oil-bearing formation to force out more oil.

Officials say the CO2 monitoring project is unique because scientists and researchers can collect background information before the oil field is flooded with CO2. This will enable them to compare before and after results and to better understand the interaction and relationships between oil recovery and CO2 storage.

The province of Saskatchewan has earmarked $2 million (Can.) from the Saskatchewan Petroleum Research Incentive program for the project, while the Canadian government will contribute $1 million (Can.) for preinjection work from its Climate Change Action Fund.

PanCanadian will support the project by contributing work and services worth $12 million, as well as access to the field for sample collection. BP Amoco PLC, SaskPower, Regina; and Dakota Gasification Co.�a wholly owned subsidiary of Basin Electric & Power Co-Operative, Bismarck, ND�have given their support to the project, and several other companies have expressed interest as well, said PanCanadian.

Project details
The project will begin immediately, officials said. In September, CO2 will be delivered to the Weyburn reservoir from the Great Plains Synfuels Plant in North Dakota. Approximately 5,000 tonnes per day of CO2 will be injected in the first phase of field development. This phase involves about 25% of the field designated for CO2 flooding and is the focus of the monitoring project.

"The lessons learned from this monitoring work will set the standards for the verification of CO2 storage as a technology option to economically reduce CO2 emissions,'' Lautermilch said.

The Weyburn field is an excellent candidate reservoir for the evaluation of CO2 storage because of detailed geological records and samples and almost 50 years of production history available for the field, officials said. In addition to the geological and historical production data, PanCanadian has recently completed a major geophysical data acquisition program. Geochemical samples will also be collected to provide baseline information in advance of the commercial flooding of the field with CO2.

The Petroleum Technology Research Center (PTRC) will coordinate the project. Saskatchewan researchers will include those from the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and the Saskatchewan Research Council and geologists from Saskatchewan Energy and Mines. The project will be conducted under the auspices of the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Program, allowing the PTRC to seek funding internationally.

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