The 2nd annual Carbon Capture Canada Conference – the nation’s only carbon capture, utilization, and storage convention – was held in Edmonton, Alberta. As the 2030 federal goals for emission reduction draw closer, collaboration and conversation around CCUS projects is crucial, and Carbon Capture Canada provided a space to connect.

Bre Fox, Chair of Carbon Capture Canada, welcomed the session with an emphasis on a call to action, asking questions on best practices for our clean energy future. There were more than 100 exhibitors and over 150 industry leading speakers spread over a two-day program. The presentations were organised in two different formats: one was a series of fifteen-minute “fireside chats”; the second type were longer panel discussions There were also 4 knowledge bars, where vendors shared their ideas and technical papers in presentation format. Two site tours were offered on the third day, to visit Shell Quest and Alberta Carbon Trunk Line facilities.

A highlight of the convention was a fireside chat regarding CCUS development in Denmark, a country that is making huge effort in emission reduction and looking to learn from ongoing Albertan projects such as Shell’s Quest, the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, and the Containment and Monitoring Institute in Brooks. It was exciting to see our province perceived as a global leader in such large scale CCUS projects. Interestingly, Alberta is the first jurisdiction in Canada with an established regulatory and risk management framework in place for large-scale CCUS projects.

Among the panelists, a key talk from a geophysical standpoint was that of “Subsurface Risk and Uncertainty across Injection, Storage and Monitoring Phases” by Graham Simpson, Don Lawton, Shellie Clark, and Carrie Rowe. The panel emphasized the need for meaningful data collection prior to and for the duration of a CCUS project’s lifetime to mitigate risk. Proper selection of project areas depends on records of basin stability, containment, and proximity to large scale CO2 emissions. Also, reservoirs selected for CO2 storage must have adequate capacity, seals, and reservoir quality to allow for required injection injectivity. The experts emphasized the significance of incorporating variability into the reservoir modeling, particularly in the Basal Cambrian Sands – the geological formation that appears to be the most suitable option for storing CO2 in Alberta’s CCUS projects. It is imperative that the modeling efforts encompass a comprehensive evaluation of potential risks and that the design of the wells considers the extended operation lifespan of over 30 years, which will involve evolving pressure conditions.

Exhibitors and panelists also emphasized the importance of implementing measurement, monitoring and verification (MMV) plans to ensure the success of present and upcoming CCUS projects. MMV plans necessitate data from initial seismic baseline studies and ongoing microseismic monitoring. This is crucial to distinguish between natural subsurface changes and those induced by CCUS activities.

In general, the convention displayed an atmosphere of eagerness to learn and the willingness for exchanging ideas among participants. With a consistent annual increase in attendance, growing from 2000 to 5000 attendees and drawing a significant number of international guests, it is evident that the enthusiasm for CCUS and emission reduction is steadily increasing.

About the Authors

Darren Kondrat (darrenk@rockyviewgeoservices.ca) is a Geophysical Consultant with a BSc. in Geophysics from the University of Calgary and an MBA from Athabasca University. As President of Rockyview Geoservices, he has extensive experience in development and exploration within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Darren’s professional interest is using rock physics for integrated subsurface mapping for resource extraction, CCUS and ESG initiatives.

Luke Harlow-Lawrence (lukel@rockyviewgeoservices.com) is a recent university graduate with a BSc. in Geophysics from the University of Calgary. He participated in field school at the CaMI Field Research Station in Brooks and has experience in seismic and TDEM methods. Luke looks forward to watching CCUS projects evolve in Canada and around the world in the future.