A cross-well seismic survey was done at the Aquistore site in December, 2021. This is the injection well. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

REGINA – This spring’s Williston Basin Petroleum Conference has a new addition, with the Saskatchewan CCUS Summit. It comes at a time when interest is gathering steam.

CCUS stands for carbon capture, utilization and storage, and after literal decades of being implemented in Saskatchewan via the Weyburn and Midale Units, as well as Aquistore, the rest of the world is waking up to its promise. In Alberta, there are now numerous CCUS hubs in the works, the granddaddy of which is the Pathways Alliance which will bring CO2 from the largest oilsands producers to Cold Lake for geological storage. In Saskatchewan, Whitecap Resources is working with several Regina and Moose Jaw-area industrial operations, including Federated Cooperatives Ltd.’s refinery and ethanol facility, with the intention of pipelining it to the Weyburn Unit.

Thus, it’s time for Saskatchewan to share some of its experience, which is deep, both figuratively and literally. Thus, the Saskatchewan CCUS summit.

The event will be held on May 2-3 at the Regina Delta Convention Centre.

Indeed, the timing couldn’t be better, as on Wednesday, Jan. 25, federal Minster of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson announced an “intake for expressions of interest for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects and related science activities focused on carbon storage and transportation.”

The Saskatchewan edition of the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference is organized by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources. Norm Sacuta, spokesperson, noted now is the time, with everything that is happening in Alberta and Saskatchewan, “particularly now with the new tax credit incentives.”

“We’re thinking that there’ll be a lot more interest and a lot more possible participation from Alberta since we’ve got two of most important projects in the ground right now.”

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Aquistore and BD3

While the PTRC’s research involvement with the Weyburn Unit has concluded, they literally wrote the book on geologic storage of CO2 from their research on that project. And their efforts monitoring the deep saline aquifer CO2 storage project, known as Aquistore, are ongoing. That project takes a portion of the CO2 captured from the Boundary Dam Unit 3 Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Project and pumps it 3,400 metres deep, into the Deadwood formation, just two kilometres west of the power station. The facility is fully equipped with an observation well, numerous forms of monitoring, a permanent seismic array for periodic 4D seismic surveys, and more.

This is what the strata under the Aquistore well looks like, 3,400 metres deep. PTRC

Aquistore will likely be the model for future CO2 injection wells for many of these projects, and it’s been in operation since late 2014, providing eight years of experience.

And interest in such storage goes well beyond Saskatchewan and Alberta. Sacuta noted that from a foreign marketing perspective, they may be able to attract companies from other countries to attend.

“We’re hoping that by adding this additional series of presentations and streams of discussion that we and possible main presenters that we could get some of those companies also interested in,

Beyond CCUS, oilfield companies are back in the game, he noted.

There’s a current call for presentations for the event. The deadline to apply is Feb. 17.

When the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to all conventions, its ending is still impacting schedules for some events.

The Williston Basin Petroleum Conference is one. The event usually alternates between Regina and Bismarck, North Dakota. But COVID cancelled the 2020 event which was supposed to be in North Dakota. They held it in person and online in 2021. It returned to Regina in 2022. But since North Dakota would like to get back to hosting on even-numbered years (coinciding with their biennial legislative sessions), Saskatchewan will once again host the show this year, in 2023. North Dakota will see the event return in 2024.

Additional details, registration and exhibitor information, and the call for papers can be found at wbpc.ca.

 

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  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
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Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announces intake for CCUS projects

Resources closes southeast Saskatchewan deal, provides guidance for first half