The IEAGHG Weyburn-Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project


This project, launched in 2000 and continuing through to 2012, studied carbon dioxide (CO2) injection and storage into two depleted oilfields in southeastern Saskatchewan. 

The first phase, completed in 2004, sought to predict and verify that the Weyburn oil reservoir could securely and economically contain CO2.  The second phase sought to expand upon the work of the first, and help to recommend a frameworkfor measurement and monitoring stored CO2, and to encourage implementation of geological storage on a worldwide basis.


The end result of the research at Weyburn was the publication of a book called Best Practices for Validating CO2 Geological Storage: Observations and Guidance from the IEAGHG Weyburn-Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project  in 2012, and a special supplement of technical research papers that appeared in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control (IJGGC - Special Issue 16) in 2013.


The project was operated in conjunction with two billion-dollar commercial CO2 floods in southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada.  

During the life of the project, approximately 8500 tonnes per day of CO2 were captured from a coal gasification facility – owned by the Dakota Gasification Company  located in Buelah, North Dakota.  The gas was compressed to a liquid phase and transported via a 320 km pipeline to the Weyburn and Midale fields for injection. 

This is the first time that a man-made source of CO2 was used for enhanced oil recovery.

Since the completion of the research project in 2012, an additional source of CO2 from SaskPower's Boundary Dam CCS Facility has joined the North Dakota source, and enhanced oil recovery using CO2 continues at both oilfields.

CO2-EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery) in the Weyburn and Midale Oil Fields

CO2 has been used as a solvent to help improve recovery from oil reservoirs for decades.   Oil field operators in West Texas, for example, have been injecting CO2 into depleted fields for decades.

In an operating strategy that alternates gas and water injection, the CO2 injection increases reservoir pressure and oil fluidity, enabling oil to escape from rock pores and flow more readily toward production wells. As a general rule, it takes about 8,000 cubic feet of CO2 to get an extra barrel of oil. Each tonne of CO2 increases oil production in Weyburn by almost three barrels.

Oil production at the Weyburn field rose from 10,000 to almost 30,000 barrels per day because of injected of CO2.  Photo courtesy Whitecap Resources.

Some of the injected CO2 at both Weyburn and Midale is pumped back to the surface together with oil and water, then separated and re-injected. At the end of the enhanced oil recovery period, virtually all injected and recycled CO2 is permanently stored.  


Weyburn Phase 1 (2000-2004)

Research in the first phase of the Weyburn CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project (2000 - 2004) was organized into four areas:

  1. Geological Characterization of the Geosphere and Biosphere
  2. Prediction, Monitoring and Verification of CO2 Movements
  3. CO2 Storage Capacity and Distribution Predictions and the Application of Economic Limits
  4. Long Term Risk Assessment of the Storage Site

The findings of the first phase of research were published in 2004 as a special Proceedings from the International Energy Agency's Greenhouse Gas R&D Progamme’s 7th Greenhouse Gas Technologies Conference in Vancouver (GHGT-7).  A complete copy of those proceedings is available by clicking here.


Weyburn Phase 2 (2005-2012)

The second phase of the project (2005 - 2012) continued to utilize scientific experts from every corner of the globe to further develop and build the most scrutinized CO2 geological storage data set in the world.  

Through an integrated approach between technical and non-technical research, the end deliverable of Phase 2 of the project was a Best Practices Manual (published in 2012) to provide guidance on validating the safe storage of CO2.  Areas of focus in the Phase 2 included:

Technical Components:

  • Site Characterization
  • Monitoring and Verification
  • Wellbore Integrity
  • Risk and Performance Assessment

Policy Components

  • Regulatory Issues
  • Public Communication and Outreach

Research throughout the life of the project was provided by more than 30 independent universities, research councils, private laboratories, geological surveys and agencies (both governmental and private sector).