Friday, July 20, 2012

All Clear at Weyburn

In February 2011, Cenovus Energy entered into an agreement with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources (MER) to commission a targeted site assessment at the Weyburn oilfield it operates on behalf of 23 other partners.  Cenovus conducts CO2 EOR at the Weyburn site, and neighboring landowners had raised concerns about possible CO2 leakage and contamination.  Now the results of that assessment have been made public, and the company and its EOR operations have received a clean bill of health.

According to the study, led by TRIUM Environmental, "The findings of the investigation do not indicate the presence of anthropogenic CO2 from the Weyburn reservoir in either the soils or wetlands of SW30-5-13W2 [i.e., the disputed portion of the Weyburn unit].  The presence of CO2 in the soil of SW30-5-13W2 is a result of a naturally and seasonally variable soil respiration process" (p. 1).  This is proven conclusively using carbon-14 dating.  The assessment also demonstrates a total absence of hydrocarbons in local surface water, and verifies the integrity of associated oilfield infrastructure.  Results were independently confirmed by researchers from both the IEA GHG Weyburn CO2 Monitoring & Storage Project and the Petroleum Technology Research Center (PTRC).

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