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Funding announced for final stage of research

Federal support of CO2 project

Research of the Weyburn-Midale CO2 monitoring and storage project received $5.2 million in new funding, from both the Canadian and United States federal governments. This funding was announced after clean-energy talks in Washington.We are happy to receive this funding, as we are coming to the final stage of our research of the CO2 sequestration and needed the funding to close the research-side of the project off, said Norm Sacuta, communications manager of the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC). This research project is a good thing for Saskatchewan, because the whole world is waiting for the results from storing CO2 into the oil fields.The funding is important for a number of reasons. First, this scientific reason has been underway for the past number of years and will be setting the environmental standards of CO2 sequestration, explained Dustin Duncan, MLA for Weyburn-Big Muddy and the Ministry of Environment. Secondly, the project shines a spotlight on the Weyburn area. It supports that out little corner of the world is leading ground-breaking development in storing CO2 and recovering oil from the patch.The goal of PTRC research is to complete guidelines and recommendations of using CO2 storage in depleted oil reservoirs. They also aims to demonstrate that CO2 can be stored safety, minimizing the possibility of leakage.The federal investment brings the total contribution to the project to date to $15.2 million. All this funding has been managed by the by the PTRC, who have been monitoring the injected CO2 into the Weyburn and Midale oil fields.We also monitor the well integrity, determine any potential weak sports to head them off, verify that the CO2 has been stored into the reservoir, and watch how the CO2 is moving in the oil formation, explained Sacuta. From our studies of the characterization of the site, we definitely have seen the different trapping mechanisms that exist that will continue to store the CO2 in the ground.Once the best practices guide is established, it will benefit other potential CO2 sequestration projects in southeast Saskatchewan. We will be able to apply similar technologies to the project at the SaskPower Boundary Dam, and developing partnerships with the State of Montana, said Duncan. He added that high profile visits have toured the CO2 project facilities, including the Prime Minister, US senators, dignitaries from other countries and media, and clean energy researchers.The CO2 project in southeast Saskatchewan is a source of pride, for Duncan, as he is both the MLA of the constituency and the minister of environment. One of the benefits for myself is the fact I have had first-hand knowledge of the sites from previous tours. From those tours, I have been able to do a better job in talking about the carbon-capture project with political counterparts in other provinces, the Parliament and the States.One of the unique factors of the research currently being completed by the PTRC is that they have been studying data from Cenovus (formerly Pan Canadian Petroleum and later EnCana and Apache Canada before the CO2 had been injected into the oil fields. This project is also noted as the worlds first and largest monitoring site for geological storage of CO2.Since the start of the research project in 2000, a record of 18 million tonnes of CO2 have been stored in the fields.The CO2 is provided by the Dakota Gasification Companys coal gasification facility in Beulah, N.D. Over 320 kilometres of pipeline carry the CO2 to the Weyburn and Midale oil fields.Before being pumped into oil fields, carbon dioxide is put under high pressure, becoming a supercritical fluid: That has the density of a liquid but expands like a gas. That makes it easier for the carbon dioxide to penetrate the reservoir, where it becomes dissolved in the oil.This makes the oil less viscous so that it flows out more easily. The extra pressure from the carbon dioxide also squeezes the oil out of rock pores toward the well. Carbon dioxide that gets pumped out with the oil is injected back into the reservoir, where it is trapped and stored.