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How do we know saline-storage is safe?

Aquistore asserts that CO2 storage in a saline formation at this location and in this specific geological setting is practical and can be done safely. The PTRC has extensive experience in the measurement, monitoring and verification of CO2 underground because of the Weyburn-Midale project, and that experience will be brought forward into the Aquistore project. 

Preliminary assessment of the region indicates this is a good site based on an extensive characterization of the injection site, target formation and cap rocks.  The injection well will be drilled along with an additional well to monitor the CO2 and its movements within the saline formation. 

The saline formation in this project is at a depth of 3.4 km or more below the earth’s surface.  This means it is 3 km below any potable source of water, and highly saline (up to 30% salt).  These are not large bodies of solid water below the ground, rather salty water contained within pores of rock formations. They are ideal for storage of CO2 because water and CO2 are able to dissolve into each other and the water can contain CO2 effectively.


How fast does the CO2   move? What about the size of the plume?

A significant objective of the Aquistore project is to observe how the liquid CO2 will migrate. We do know that CO2 underground moves millimeters a year.  The modeling that we have done indicates the plume will be a few kilometres over time.


What kind of waste will the project produce?

The whole purpose of this project is to take a waste stream from the production of oil at a refinery (CO2) and store it in a deep saline aquifer, thus eliminating waste materials from an industrial process.


What happens after the Aquistore project is complete?  Who will be responsible for long term monitoring and liability?

There are strict regulations to deal with the long-term details on the abandonment of wells. These regulations have been in place for half century in relation to the oil and gas industry.


What are the economic benefits of Aquistore?

During two months required to drill each well: approximately 30 full time equivalent jobs.  In total, up to 50 professional and skilled works will be involved with drilling, most Saskatchewan based. Any of the workers not based in Saskatchewan will be housed and fed in Estevan area hotels and restaurants.  Acquiring the 3-D seismic survey will occur over several weeks and involve a crew of around 40 workers.  Many will be sourced from Saskatchewan. If they are from out of province, they will be housed and fed in the project area.  On-going field support will if possible be local workers.

At the capture site – Boundary Dam 3, additional jobs will be created to facilitate the capture. Furthermore, by capturing the CO2, the life of BD3 will be extended for an additional 20-25 years, ensuring job security.

Aquistore will be the first project of its kind in Canada injecting into a deep saline formation, and perhaps the first in North America.  National and international news coverage is possible and will cement Saskatchewan’s reputation as a world leader in carbon capture and storage.  This fact will bring additional economic benefits in out of province/country visitors.


If I live near the project or injection site, will my property values go down?

There is no difference between the impact to property from Aquistore to that of the many nearby oil and gas operations.


What is the impact on mineral rights in the area?

Liquid CO2 will be injected 3.4 km deep underground in the sandstone formation which is well below known oil and gas deposits. The very same sandstone formation is commonly used and approved for the oil and gas industry for disposal wells.


What  is the PTRC?

PTRC is a not-for-profit research and development organization  based in Regina, Saskatchewan. It was founded in 1998 with support from Natural Resources Canada, Saskatchewan  Energy and Resources, Saskatchewan Research Council and the University of Regina, as well as the western Canadian oil and gas industry. PTRC is currently managing the IEA GHG Weyburn-Midale CO2 Mointoring and Storage Project, the JIVE Project, the STEPS Program, the Aquistore Project and other programs.


I want to know more about carbon capture and storage – where can I go?

Please check out CCS 101 for more information on carbon capture and storage.