Weyburn–Midale CO2 Project

Assessing CO2 behavior in an ongoing commercial CO2 EOR project

CO2 Goes Canadian
CO2 Goes Canadian

Photo of researchers touring a CO2 compression unit for the Weyburn–Midale CO2 Project.

Photo of CO2 capture at Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant.

The Weyburn and Midale oil fields in the southern portion of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan are the sites of major commercial enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations using CO2. Since 2000, industrial-grade CO2 has traveled 205 miles (330 km) by pipeline from the Great Plains Synfuels Plant in Beulah, North Dakota, to the Weyburn and Midale oil fields. Since October 2014, CO2 also began coming from SaskPower’s coal-fired Boundary Dam Power Station.1 The EOR operations will eventually produce an additional 200 million barrels of oil2 and permanently store 44 million tons of CO2 deep underground in the oil-producing rocks.

As of February 2017, the Weyburn project had safely injected approximately 30 million tonnes of CO2. This effective storage of greenhouse gas emissions is equal to taking more than six million cars off the road for an entire year. Approximately 2 million tonnes of new CO2 is injected and stored at Weyburn every year.2

CO2 for Weyburn-Midale travels 205 miles (330 km) by pipe from North Dakota. Photo courtesy of PTRC.

The behavior of the CO2 accumulating in the underground oil-producing zones during the commercial EOR operation was the focus of the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG) Weyburn–Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project, an 11-year, $85 million scientific assessment completed in 2011. The assessment program was managed by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan, and was funded by numerous government and industry sources, including the IEAGHG, Natural Resources Canada, and the U.S. Department of Energy. A final report on the project, Best Practices for Validating CO2 Geological Storage: Observations and Guidance from the IEAGHG Weyburn–Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project, was released in 2012.

Approximately 2 million tonnes of CO2 is injected and stored every year at Weyburn-Midale.

  1. www.cenovus.com/technology/co2-enhanced-oil-recovery.html (accessed June 2017).
  2. www.cenovus.com/operations/conventional-oil-natural-gas/weyburn.html (accessed June 2017).