Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CO2 Storage Well Completed in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan-based Petroleum Technology Research Centre has announced the completion of a well to be used for testing the deep saline storage of carbon dioxide. At a total depth of 3,396 meters (11,141 feet), the well is the deepest in the province and is part of the Aquistore project, a partnership between the Petroleum Technology Research Centre and the SaskPower Boundary Dam Power Station. SaskPower, the electrical utility for Saskatchewan, runs three coal-fired plants in the province. 

The well was drilled near the city of Estevan in the Deadwood formation, the deepest sedimentary unit in the Williston Basin. It has produced a complete set of logs, core samples and other data that project officials say will be useful not only for CO2 storage, but also for oil companies in the area who have interests in hydrocarbon bearing formations. The Deadwood formation is made up of alternating porous rocks such as limestones and sandstones, and non-porous rocks like shales, anhydrite and salt.

A second observation well will be drilled beginning in October and is expected to be of a comparable depth. Both wells are part of a four year research and monitoring project to demonstrate that storing carbon dioxide deep underground in a brine and sandstone water formation  is a safe, workable solution to reduce greenhouse gases. Saskatchewan has previous carbon storage experience to draw upon. Cenovus Energy (formerly EnCana) has been injecting CO2 into the Weyburn Oil Field since 2000. In addition, Shell Oil piloted CO2 injection into Saskatchewan's Midale Field in the 1980's, which Apache Canada continued in 2005.

(A video that overviews the Weyburn Oil Field application, which uses CO2 from the Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah, is available here.)

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