The Wabamun area was selected for a study for the possibilities for large scale CO2 storage, due to the presence of several large stationary CO2 emitters in this area with cumulative annual emissions in the order of 30 million tonnes (Mt) CO2. The study area is about 60 km wide and extends to the south for about 90 km. The study area was also selected based on the following geological criteria:
- The area is prospective for deep saline reservoirs with adequate permeability and porosity to contain CO2 for the long term.
- The area has adequate locations where CO2 storage will not interfere with current or future oil and gas production potential.
- The area is prospective for adequate cap rock that will serve as an impermeable seal for the injected CO2 preventing vertical migration to shallower formations.
- The area has a lower frequency of prior existing well penetrations that could serves as leakage points. All of the existing abandoned wells in the study area will be reviewed to ensure that adequate attention is given to them, and recommendations made on any further action required to secure them in case actual CO2 injection takes place near these wells.
- The area has a lower degree of possible faulting and fracturing. The study will identify any possible faults and/or fractures that might breach the cap rock for any formations identified as having CO2 sequestration potential. Formations that are identified as being compromised by faults and/or fractures will be eliminated for CO2 sequestration potential through this study.
The area has significant CO2 storage capacity exists in depleted oil and gas reservoirs within the Wabamun area, these may not be available in the near future because most of the reservoirs are still producting. Moreover, the large Pembina Cardium oil fields located just south of the Wabamun Lake area are now producing through the assistance of mature waterflood systems and many are in the initial stages of investigating the use of CO2 as a miscible flooding agent to further enhance oil recovery (EOR). Commercial scale use of CO2 for this purpose is still a few years away and until then, these pools will require only pilot-scale volumes of CO2 for reservoir characterization and testing purposes. As a result, CO2 storage in deep saline aquifers is a likely near-future scenario for large scale CO2 sequestration
Wabamun Area CO2 Sequestration Project (WASP)
The study will perform a comprehensive characterization of large-scale CO2 storage opportunities in the Wabamun area and analyze any potential risks. As a benchmark, the project will examine the feasibility of storing 20 million tonnes (Mt)-CO2/year for 50 years within 60 km by 90 km area extending south of the Wabamun area. This gigaton-scale storage project is one to two orders of magnitude larger than the commercial projects now under study. This research will fill a gap between the province-wide capacity estimates (which do not involve site-specific studies of flow and geomechanics etc.) and the detailed commercial studies of small CO2 storage projects currently underway. Unlike the commercial projects, this project is planned as a public non-confidential project led by the University of Calgary (U of C). T.
Project Sponsors: Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), TransAlta Utilities Corporation, TransCanada Pipelines, ARC Energy Trust, Penn West Energy Trust, Capital Power Corporation, Enbridge Inc., ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp., Encana, StatOilHydro Canada Ltd., Total E&P Canada Ltd., Computer Modelling Group and Golder Associates.
The WASP study was to be completed by the summer of 2009
More information and news
Distinguished Scientist, CO2 Storage
Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures
Professor of Law, University of Calgary
Nigel Bankes' web page
Schulich Chair in Geostatistics; Professor Chemical and Petroleum Engineering; Adjunct Professor Geoscience
Jerry Jensen's web page
Director, ISEEE Energy and Environmental Systems Group
Canada Research Chair and Professor Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Professor Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
David Keith's website
P. Eng. CalPetra Research and Consulting Inc.
Rob Lavoie's website
Professor of Geophysics and Chair in Exploration Geophysics, Faculty of Science, Geoscience
Don Lawton's website
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo
Professor of Isotope Geochemistry and Head of Applied Geochemistry group, Faculty of Science, Department of Geoscience
Bernhard Mayer's website
Assistant Professor and Lester Birbeck Chair in Petroleum Engineering, Geological Sciences and Engineering, Missouri University of Science & Technology
Runar Nygaard's website
PanCanadian/Petroleum Society Chair in Petroleum Engineering, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering; President Taurus reservoir solutions
Tony Settari's web page
P. Geol., PhD., President - Stoakes Consulting Group Ltd.
Frank Stoakes' website