CO2 Capture Field Leaking in Saskatchewan?

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the carbon dioxide injected in Saskatchewan’s Weyburn oil field may be leaking, killing farm animals and making farm soil “fizz.” The Weyburn CO2 injection is the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, the source of much optimism about the viability of CCS technology.

The owners of the surface land in question, farmers Cameron and Jane Kerr, released a report about the alleged leakage by Paul Lafleur of Petro-Find Geochem on Tuesday. The report finds high concentrations of CO2 in the Kerrs’ soil, up to 110,607 parts per million (many times natural concentrations), and links the level of CO2 to the 6000 tons of CO2 injected daily by Cenovus approximately 1400 feet below the surface.

The Kerrs have witnessed frequent deaths of small animals, “algae blooms, clots of foam and multicoloured scum in two ponds at the bottom of a gravel quarry on their land.” The ponds sometimes bubbled, and there were explosions. According to Jane Kerr, 58:

At night we could hear this sort of bang like a cannon going off. We’d go out and check the gravel pit and, in the walls, it (had) blown a hole in the side and there would be all this foaming coming out of this hole.

The water, according to Kerr, “would fizz and foam.” A Cenovus spokesperson says the company has engaged several consultants to review Lafleur’s report, and the Saskatchewan Energy and Resource Minister promises further investigation.

The last post on this blog recorded plans to capture CO2 at a planned South Heart, ND coal-to-hydrogen plant for shipment to the Weyburn field.

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2 Responses to CO2 Capture Field Leaking in Saskatchewan?

  1. Muoncounter says:

    Oh, this is bad news. CO2 injection is a hot project in older Texas oil fields. I wonder if its just a few wells with leaky casing or worse, an unintentional frac.

  2. Muoncounter says:


    If you are still following this story, here are some updates on Weyburn leak controversy here and here.

    General quasi-technical background on the project here.

    Pipeline info here.

    It seems the dispute will be whether this is a damaged well casing or a formation leak (or whether the company will continue denying the whole thing). I was in the oil business for 25 years, so I can understand the techie stuff.

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