Evaluating the Basal Cambrian System for CO2 Storage

Map of the Cambro-Ordovician Saline System (COSS).

Scientists have speculated that the oldest and deepest sedimentary rock layer in the PCOR Partnership region may be a great storage zone for CO2 from human activities. A transborder research project completed in 2013 focused on determining how well this saltwater-filled rock system might accept and permanently retain CO2. Specific activities included:

  • Developing a comprehensive computer model of the geology of the entire lowermost saline system.
  • Evaluating the physical capacity of this system’s permeable rock layers to accept CO2 under various injection schemes.
  • Examining potential chemical interactions of injected CO2 with the rocks and fluids in the storage zone.
  • Estimating the potential for leakage via the existing wells that penetrate the storage zone and its cap rock.

Key Result: A Viable Regional Storage Option for CO2

With an adequate number of injection wells in optimum locations, this lowermost saline system is a viable target for long-term geologic storage (sequestration) of a volume of CO2 equivalent to decades of the current output from large stationary sources in the PCOR Partnership region.

The Basal Cambrian system is a deep, regionally extensive sandstone layer underlying parts of North Dakota and Montana in the United States and Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in Canada. Major stationary CO2 sources are shown in red.

International Collaboration

This binational collaborative effort is led on the U.S. side by the Energy & Environmental Research Center through the PCOR Partnership and on the Canadian side by Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures. Other partners include the following:

  • CanmetENERGY
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Manitoba Water Stewardship
  • Manitoba Innovation – Energy and Mines
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Princeton University
  • Saskatchewan Industry and Resources
  • TOTAL E&P Ltd.
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • University of Regina Petroleum Technology Research Centre

Project Overview

Project Overview Basal Cambrian

Project Report

Wellbore Evaluation of the Basal Cambrian System 2014