Monitoring, Measurement & Verification R D & D

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Analysis of Acid Gas Injection Sites in Alberta that Have Experienced Unforeseen Reservoir Performance Problems

Deep injection of acid gas (CO2 and H2S) produced at gas plants in Alberta and B.C. through sour gas desulphurization has been in use since 1990 as a method to reduce atmospheric H2S emissions. Currently there are more than 50 such operations in western Canada. Notwithstanding the concurrent injection of CO2, since the two gases are not being separated, deep injection of acid gas constitutes a commercial-scale analogue to CO2 Capture and Geological Sequestration (CCGS). This has been recently shown by the IPCC Special Report on CO2 Capture and Storage as a means of reducing atmospheric CO2 emissions with significant potential, which is technologically feasible and that could be implemented in the near future (short- to long term, i.e., before 2010 and beyond 2030), provided that certain conditions are being met.

Fekete Associates Inc
Apache Canada Ltd.
Conoco-Phillips Canada
Bearspaw Petroleum Ltd.
University of Calgary

Duration: April 1, 2006 - March 2008

Project Manager:
Dr. Stefan Bachu
Energy Resources Conservation Board

CO2 Monitoring at Penn West CO2 EOR Pilot

The Penn West CO2-EOR Monitoring Pilot Project is a key initiative under the federal-provincial Energy Innovation Network (EnergyINet) CO2 Management Program. The project will further advance the understanding of the fate of CO2 injected into petroleum reservoirs and enhance our understanding of the role that geological CO2 storage can play in responding to the risks of climate change. This project, which is utilizing leading-edge CO2 monitoring tools and applications, will add to the growing body of knowledge that is being developed in Canada on the capture and storage of carbon dioxide and its potential as a greenhouse gas mitigation option. This project involves the research and analysis in the following areas:

  • Baseline geology and hydrogeology  
  • Baseline leakage
  • Reservoir surveillance  
  • Environmental monitoring  
  • Geophysical monitoring  
  • Reservoir testing  
  • Geochemical monitoring  
  • Reservoir simulation

Alberta Energy Research Institute
Western Economic Diversification
Alberta Environment
Penn West Energy Trust
University of Alberta
University of Calgary
Alberta Energy and Utilities Board

To be completed by December 2008

Project Manager:
Brent Lakeman
Alberta Research Council

IEA GHG Weyburn CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project

Launched in 2000, this 11-year, $80-million international research project studies the long-term storage and migration characteristics of CO2 injected in depleted oil fields at Weyburn and Midale in southeastern Saskatchewan. The project is conducted in conjunction with the largest commercial CO2 -EOR operations in the world. The project’s Final Phase (2005-2011) is building on the successes of the First Phase (2000-2004) to deliver the framework necessary to encourage implementation of CO2 geological storage on a worldwide basis.  Specifically, the project will develop and demonstrate technology solutions required for the design, implementation, monitoring and verification of CO2 geological storage projects, as well as influence and accelerate good public policy development for regulations, public communications and outreach, and the business environment. The technical work is managed by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan, whereas the non-technical work is coordinated by Natural Resources Canada.

The main deliverable of the project is a comprehensive Best Practices Manual, which will provide practical protocols for the design and implementation of CO2 geological storage.  These will include assessments of the permanent containment of injected CO2 at Weyburn-Midale as determined by long-term predictive simulations and formal risk analysis techniques.  At the same time, the project will address issues regulatory bodies may have regarding the development of clear, workable regulations for the safe geological storage of large volumes of CO2, not only at Weyburn-Midale, but anywhere where CO2 storage is contemplated.

Government Partners:
Natural Resources Canada
US Department of Energy
Saskatchewan Industry and Resources
Alberta Energy Research Institute
RITE (Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth)
IEA GHG R&D Programme

Industry Partners:
Apache Canada
Aramco Services Co.


Dakota Gasification Co.
Nexen Canada
OMV Austria


Duration: Phase I: September 2000 - July 2004; Phase II: July 2004 - September 2010

Senior Project Manager
Petroleum Technology Research Centre
Steve Whittaker

Project Integrator
Natural Resources Canada
Government of Canada
Frank Mourits
Project Website

Near and Far Field Effects of CO2 Injection in Geological Formations: Toward Integrated Monitoring and Modelling Protocols

The overarching philosophy of this proposed research project is to establish a framework of integration between and within the INJECTION, RELIABILITY and MONITORING activities and to pursue a research program that integrates experimental, numerical and field observation (monitoring) approaches to meet the project needs.
The modelling approaches adopted in this research project have worldwide applicability. Research on uncertainty and upscaling issues will assist not only Canadian geological storage proponents but will also assist the international community in addressing these issues.

The experimental based programs have a smaller focus or extent because formation samples that are tested and the downhole cement formulations are generally characteristic on the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Methodologies for conducting the tests, however, would have broader applicability.

Monitoring technologies and protocols would have far-reaching impacts with the potential to significantly influence how geological storage projects are monitored world-wide.

Alberta Research Council
University of Alberta
University of Calgary
CanmetENERGY, Ottawa (ON) Research Centre
University of Western Ontario

Project Manager:
Brent Lakeman
Carbon and Energy Management
Alberta Research Council

Pembina-Cardium CO2-EOR Monitoring Pilot

In late 2004, a CO2 EOR flood pilot within the Cretaceous Cardium Formation within the Pembina oil field in Central Alberta was selected as the site for a comprehensive CO2 monitoring program. This pilot, completed in 2008 has tested the deployment of new CO2 flood monitoring tools, allowing for a better understanding of the behaviour of CO2 in the largest conventional reservoir in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

Ultimately, the Pembina Oil Field in West-Central Alberta was selected as most suitable site for a $3.75 million CO2-EOR Monitoring Pilot. The Pembina Oil Field is an extensive field covering an area of about 140,000 km2 (140 townships) and is comprised of several producing horizons from Devonian to Tertiary in age, with the Upper Cretaceous Cardium Formation being by far the most prolific. The four reservoir units comprising the Cardium together attain a maximum cumulative thickness of about 20 m and occur at depths ranging from 1600 m in the northeast to 1650 m in the southwest of the pilot site area.

For more information on this project please contact:
Brent Lakeman
Alberta Research Council

 Timelapse seismic monitoring of CO2 injection into Ardley coals (CSEMP project)

Repeated surface and down hole 3D-3C reflection seismic surveys are proposed at an enhanced coalbed-methane (CBM) production site operated by Carbon Storage and Enhanced Methane Production (CSEMP) and located in Alberta. Baseline surveys to image the Ardley coals are currently planned and will be executed within the first half of 2005. These will provide an accurate depth model of the coals in the survey area, and detect lateral facies changes in the coals that may inhibit gasification, and provide baseline measurements against which later datasets will be compared.

The sequestration of CO2 in porous subsurface reservoirs is both technologically possible and financially attractive. Geological sequestration of CO2 involves pumping fluid CO2 underground and trapping it in porous rocks, in the same manner that hydrocarbons are trapped. This is possible in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, coal beds, and high-salinity aquifers (Wawerski and Rucnicki, 1998). Canada, especially Alberta, has many potential subsurface reservoirs that could be storage volumes for CO2 and the likely environmental impact is minimal. However, it is important to develop the technology to monitor such gas disposal projects in order to verify that the gas remains in place and to optimize the reservoir’s storage capacity. The most practical monitoring technology is to integrate seismic imaging with geochemical, tiltmeter, and other monitoring technologies to enable real-time tracking of the injection plume and rapid optimization of injection parameters. Canada must act now to create the infrastructure and experience required to be the world leader in this field by building upon the strong geophysical and information industries already in place. In this way, we will also be positioned to supply the technology worldwide.

Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI)
CSEMP consortium

Project Manager:
Don C. Lawton
University of Calgary

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