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Well of the Week – Can carbonates save the world?“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once mo

Well of the Week – Can carbonates save the world?

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”

W. Shakespeare, Henry V (follow the link to read the whole speech)

The oil and gas industry has a long history of developing the technology to mitigate various risks as they arise. Whether the problem was blowouts, H2S, induced seismicity or other hazards, we have always found a way to mitigate these risks. To continue with the allusion to King Hal, the move net zero threw down yet another gauntlet. This Petro NinjaEnlighten Geoscience Well of the Week is a preliminary discussion of how the industry has picked up this metal mitt by pursuing Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS). As befitting their New Golden Age, carbonates will play an incredibly important part.

There have been several CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery projects such as Weyburn Midale in Saskatchewan and Joffre Viking in Alberta. But these fall under the Utilization portion of CCUS. The real gains will be made from projects that aim to permanently store the CO2.

It is early days but from a standing start, the Alberta Energy Regulator has one operating project (Shell Quest), 6 projects awarded a 5-year evaluation agreement by the government after the first round of Carbon Management Tenure applications, and an additional 19 under evaluation after the second round of applications (ended Oct. 2022). The overall landscape is presented in Figure 1.


Figure 1. Map of Carbon Sequestration Tenure Round 2


When the Capacities listed in the project summary table (provided as Figure 2) are considered, it is apparent that, with only 11 of 15 projects currently able to provide data, that 48 to 78 MT/yr. of CO2 will be sequestered.


Figure 2. CCUS Project Summary


And Alberta is not alone in pursuing the CCUS goal. Geoscience BC recently released the first of three planned CCUS Atlas projects. And Saskatchewan is looking at ways to expand on the success of the Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage Project.


It will be interesting to see updates on these contributions to a Net Zero energy environment.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mitchell Gillrie, P. Geo. and Devin Lacey of GLJ for their assistance and suggestions for this article. Any errors or omissions are my sole responsibility.

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