Saskatchewan is a strong supporter of the development of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technology because Saskatchewan’s circumstances mean that the technology can provide significant economic and environmental benefits.   The report "The Global Status of CCS: 2012", prepared by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, indicates that, in 2012, a total of nearly 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide was stored by several large scale CCS projects around the world.  Saskatchewan was responsible for storing about 3 million tonnes, roughly 15% of the total for the entire world.

CCS Incentives and Initiatives in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Petroleum Research Incentive

The Saskatchewan Petroleum Research Incentive is intended to encourage research, development and demonstration of new technologies that facilitate the expanded production of Saskatchewan's oil and natural gas resources.  The Incentive is given in the form of royalty credits as 30% of eligible research expenses, up to $3 million per project.  Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) pilot projects that permanently store carbon dioxide underground while simultaneously increasing oil production are eligible to receive the Incentive.

Current CCS Projects

Weyburn Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery Project:

Cenovus Energy has spent $1.1 billion on Saskatchewan’s first commercial scale carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery project and continues to invest additional funds in the project.  The project will produce 200 million incremental barrels of oil and oil production has increased by 60% as a result of the project. 

Cenovus Energy purchases carbon dioxide that otherwise would be emitted by a coal gasification plant in North Dakota.  The carbon dioxide is shipped through a 320 kilometre pipeline which crosses the Canada-US border and is regulated by Canada’s National Energy Board.  Carbon dioxide injection began in 2000.

The project is a significant technical and economic success which simultaneously enhances oil production and stores carbon dioxide.  The project offsets the greenhouse gas emissions from 510,000 vehicles.  The project provides large climate change benefits combined with economic development benefits at little expense to government.

Apache’s Midale CO2-EOR Project:

The first carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery injection in Saskatchewan began in 1984 as a pilot project in the Midale reservoir.  This initial small project was expanded in 1992 and continued until 1999 when it was shut down.  However, since 2005 the Midale reservoir has been the site of Saskatchewan's second commercial carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery project.

Apache Canada will spend $760 million over the lifetime of the project to produce 67 million barrels of incremental oil and store 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by the end of the project.  Injection began in fall of 2005.  The project offsets the greenhouse gas emissions from all the homes in Regina. 

As of the end of February 2013, the Weyburn and Midale Projects combined have stored over 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.  The two projects continue to inject carbon dioxide at the rate of 7,000 – 8,000 tonnes per day or roughly 2.5 – 3 million tonnes per year.  The amount of carbon dioxide injected at the Weyburn and Midale Projects offsets the greenhouse gas emissions from all the homes in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

International Energy Agency (IEA) Greenhouse Gas Weyburn-Midale Carbon Dioxide Monitoring and Storage Project:

The world’s largest monitored CO2 geological storage project was undertaken to monitor the carbon dioxide being stored by Cenovus Energy and Apache at their commercial enhanced oil recovery projects.  Total cash expenditures during the two phases of the project totalled approximately $33.5 million with “in kind” contributions increasing the total to $80 million.  This major, world class scientific research work provided the scientific evidence supporting the safety of long term geological storage of carbon dioxide in Weyburn and for geological storage projects around the world. 

The project improved understanding of geological sequestration of carbon dioxide, the mechanisms of sequestration, and the degree to which carbon dioxide can be permanently sequestered or stored in geological formations.  The information provided by the project will assist in selecting other appropriate carbon dioxide storage sites and in designing and implementing successful carbon dioxide sequestration or storage projects throughout the world. 

The project provided a credible assessment of the permanent containment of injected carbon dioxide through the use of long-term predictive simulations and formal risk analysis techniques.  The results of the initial phase of the IEA Weyburn-Midale Carbon Dioxide Monitoring and Storage Project indicated that the injected carbon dioxide will remain in the Weyburn reservoir for at least several thousand years.

Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project:

SaskPower is constructing the world’s first and largest coal-fired integrated carbon capture and storage project at Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada.  The government-industry partnership between the Government of Canada, Government of Saskatchewan, SaskPower and private industry will rebuild a coal-fired generation unit and will equip it with a fully-integrated carbon capture system, allowing for the generation of low-emission electricity and the capture of CO2 for oil extraction. This leading-edge project will determine the technical, economic and environmental performance of carbon capture and storage technology.

Under this project, Unit 3 of SaskPower’s Boundary Dam coal fired electricity generating station Is being retrofitted and 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year will be captured and used for enhanced oil recovery.   This is equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off Saskatchewan roads annually.  The total cost of the project will be $1.24 billion, including a $240 million commitment from the Government of Canada. 

Unit 3 will produce 100 megawatts of clean base load electricity while enhancing provincial oil production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Unit 3 will provide enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 homes. 

The project cost includes $354 million to extend the life of Unit 3 for 30 years.  Boundary Dam 3 will be rebuilt with a state-of-the-art Hitachi turbine custom-designed for carbon capture systems.  Work on the major components of the plant began in 2011, and construction started in 2012.  The facility is expected to commence commercial operation in April 2014. 

SaskPower and Cenovus Energy reached a long tern agreement for the purchase of the full volume of carbon dioxide produced by the facility.  Cenovus Energy will use the carbon dioxide at its enhanced oil recovery project near Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

The carbon dioxide capture technology uses regenerative amines and is being provided by Cansolv Technologies Inc. (CTI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell Global Solutions.

Aquistore Project:

The Aquistore Project is an integrated carbon capture, transport and sequestration project that will take a portion of the carbon dioxide captured from SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Sequestration Project and transport it through a dedicated pipeline to an injection site near the electricity generating station. The $27 million project is a collaborative research venture between governments and industry, and has received $9 million in funding from Natural Resources Canada and $5 million dollars from both Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment Go Green Fund. The injection well and the observation well are the two deepest wells ever drilled in Saskatchewan, with depths of 3.4 kilometers.  The carbon dioxide will be injected into a highly saline formation.  The sequestration of the carbon dioxide will be monitored, measured and verified using various innovative technologies.  The learnings from this project, which will begin injection of carbon dioxide in 2013, before any other deep saline injection project in Canada, will help other projects achieve their goals.

Carbon Capture and Test Facility (CCTF):

SaskPower and Hitachi Ltd. are partnering to construct a $60 million carbon capture test facility (CCTF) at SaskPower’s coal-fired Shand Power Station in southeastern Saskatchewan for multiple amine based carbon dioxide capture technologies.  The CCTF will allow international developers to fully evaluate performance of their systems to capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired thermal power plants.

The key role of the project is to allow quick, low-cost testing of competing commercial carbon dioxide capture technologies to help bring promising carbon dioxide capture technologies to the marketplace more quickly than would otherwise be the case.  The facility will enable technology developers to quickly test their technology at a near­-commercial scale under real world operating conditions so they can optimize the performance of their technology at large scale and offer performance guarantees to potential buyers.  Cheaper carbon dioxide capture technologies are important to improve the economics of CCS and to accelerate the deployment of carbon dioxide capture technology in tens of thousands of coal plants around the world.  The facility would be available for testing the commercial viability of any company’s carbon dioxide capture technology on a fee-for-service basis.  A number of amine technology companies have expressed significant interest in the test facility. 

SaskPower and Hitachi will each contribute approximately $30 million to the CCTF, with SaskPower acting as owner/operator.  Construction will begin in mid-2013, with a scheduled completion date of late summer 2014.  Hitachi will supply their skilled process development team, as well as core process equipment from their Saskatoon manufacturing facility.  Hitachi’s proprietary amine technology will be the first technology tested at the CCTF from fall 2014 until the end of 2015.  SaskPower expects to evaluate a number of current and emerging carbon capture technologies over the life of the facility.  The CCTF has been designed to accommodate a wide range of test configurations, ensuring it remains a viable facility for many years.  SaskPower continues to obtain additional industry sponsorships of the facility.

Husky CO2 – EOR Projects in Lloydminster area:

Husky is currently conducting two carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery projects (CO2 – EOR) in heavy oil reservoirs in Mervin, Saskatchewan. One scenario is investigating Huff & Puff injection and the other scenario is investigating flood injection.  The Province of Saskatchewan has approved $6 million in royalty credits to the projects under the Saskatchewan Petroleum Research Incentive.  This is the first known use of CO2 in a heavy oil reservoir.

Built upon the knowledge learned from Mervin CO2-EOR pilot, Husky is also conducting two more CO2-EOR projects in heavy oil reservoirs in Tangleflags and Lashburn, Saskatchewan.  In addition, Husky is capturing approximately 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year (roughly 250 tonnes/day) from Husky’s ethanol plant and is utilizing this CO2 in various projects throughout the Lloydminster area. The Government of Canada has contributed $4 million under the ecoEnergy Technology Initiative to the field pilots and reservoir/process investigations.

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Saskatchewan CCS Organizations

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that carbon dioxide capture technology may provide almost half of all emission reductions necessary to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions in the world over this century.  Saskatchewan is taking a leading world role in developing this critical technology at the Petroleum Technology Research Centre and the International Test Centre for Carbon Dioxide Capture. Both of these organizations are located in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC)

Only 15% of Saskatchewan’s sizeable oil reserves are recoverable with current technology.  Technology is the key that will enable Saskatchewan to grow its petroleum industry by accessing more of the 85% of our oil resource that currently cannot be recovered.  The Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) was established by the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan to work with industry to develop the next generation of oil production technology to access the 30 billion barrels of our oil resource that current techniques cannot access. 

One of the major initiatives of the PTRC was the International Energy Agency (IEA) Greenhouse Gas Weyburn-Midale Carbon Dioxide Monitoring and Storage Project which studied the use of carbon dioxide by Cenovus Energy to increase oil production in southeast Saskatchewan.  The IEA Weyburn-Midale Project studied Cenovus Energy’s enhanced oil recovery project to predict and verify the ability of an oil reservoir to securely and economically store carbon dioxide. 

The PTRC is also working on the Aquistore Project (deep saline aquifer storage) as well as various carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery initiatives. 

For more information on the PTRC please visit their website:

International Test Centre (ITC) for Carbon Dioxide Capture 

The ITC is a $14 million facility established in 1999 at the University of Regina to develop amine-based technologies to capture carbon dioxide from flue gases from large industrial facilities such as refineries or coal-fired electrical generating stations.  ITC has developed world-class post combustion carbon dioxide capture technology using amines. 

ITC is working to reduce the cost of these technologies to ensure that they are cost competitive with other emission reduction technologies and that captured carbon dioxide is cheap enough to be used for industrial purposes such as enhanced oil recovery.  The ITC’s research has attracted significant industry sponsorship from around the world and has achieved significant reductions in the cost of separating carbon dioxide from the flue gases of electricity generation stations.

ITC research ranges from fundamental studies through amine and process design and demonstration.  It operates technology-neutral pilot plants for testing not only amine-based capture technologies developed in-house, but also those developed by external companies and organizations.  A wide array of analytical equipment allows the experts at ITC to fully analyze and characterize the capture solvents, processes, and products and to develop solutions to problems such as process efficiency, amine degradation, and corrosion control.  The analytical equipment, laboratories, and expertise make ITC one of the most advanced research facilities in North America.

For more information on the ITC please visit their website:

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updated April 2013

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