It is expected that carbon capture and storage will contribute to reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere. There are still many challenges associated with this technology, and education and research on storage of CO2 in the underground have been an important part of the project. The project has carried out research and teaching at the pilot field station of the University of Calgary (UiC) to increase knowledge of storage and geophysical monitoring techniques. We have arranged field courses for students, joint academic meetings where we have discussed new methods for CO2 storage and methods for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). New methods for EOR are the second important activity in the project. We have also arranged mutual guest lectures at the two universities. The exchange of master's students, PhD students and postdocs was an important part of this collaboration.
In the fall of 2016, we arranged a seminar in Meråker with approx. 30 researchers and students, both from NTNU and UiC. In addition, we had delegates from SINTEF, CMR, Gassnova, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and Statoil. In June 2017, we organized a geological field course for 15 students from NTNU, UiC and TUDelft in Ainsa, Spain.
A PhD candidate from NTNU was in Calgary in the fall of 2016 and did experimental work on the use of nanocellulose to increase the recovery of oil. Nanocellulose is a biopolymer made of wood that is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The laboratory experiments were conducted in unconsolidated sand and the water salinity, the rock grain size and the flow rate were important variables. The PhD candidate had a new stay at UiC in February to finalize the experiments. The work resulted in a publication.
In the period May - August 2017, a master's student from UiC stayed at NTNU to continue the laboratory tests. Nanocellulose was injected into Berea sandstone and in addition, atomic-force microscopy (AFM) and zeta potential measurements were performed to understand the flow results. The results were published summer 2018. PFI RISE and SINTEF were active participants in the project.
In the spring of 2018, eight master theses were carried out at NTNU on topics related to nano cellulose and CO2 storage. The collaboration with Calgary was now concentrated on high temperature core flooding and the results are now reviewed for publication. A researcher from UiC stayed at NTNU summer 2018 and completed the experimental work using surface-treated cellulose particles.
In August 2018, 15 persons from NTNU was on a 10-day visit at UiC. Their stay included seminars, laboratory research, fieldwork at the research pilot plant and geological excursions. From NTNU there were three professors, one researcher, five postdocs and six PhD candidates. It was a similar number of participants from UiC. The following link points to an article in the university newspaper about the NTNU-visit: UTODAY. The stay at the field pilot plant was a highlight. The field has one injection well, two observation wells and three production wells. The wells are 100-500m deep and a network of geophysical and geochemical instruments has been installed that allows for study of CO2 storage, enhanced recovery methods, hydraulic fracturing and contamination of water. The NTNU researchers received valuable training in safety procedures, launching of geophones, measuring methane production, interpreting seismic data and maintenance work.
After the NTNU delegates' successful stay in Calgary, a final seminar was held at NTNU in November 2018. Some of the participants from the UiC combined the trip to NTNU with participation at an InterPore seminar in Oslo. To Trondheim came a master's student, two postdocs, a researcher and Professor Steven Bryant. Seminars were arranged at NTNU, SINTEF and Equinor. The topic of the seminar at Equinor was seismic monitoring at the field station. At SINTEF, Professor Bryant presented ideas on new technology for reduced CO2 emissions during the production of oil. At NTNU, the Department of Geoscience and Petroleum, and SFF PoreLab had joint seminars where CO2, research on the field station and multiphase flow in porous media were themes.
In this project, new collaboration has been established between researchers within geophysics and geochemistry in Calgary and at NTNU. This resulted in two postdoctoral fellows from NTNU having research stays in Calgary in the autumn of 2018. One postdoc used optical instruments in geochemical analysis and the results are included in two publications. The second postdoc worked on detecting trace elements in water. UiC has high expertise in this technology because of Alberta's oil and gas extraction on land.
A PhD candidate from Professor Bryant's group in Calgary will have a one-year stay at NTNU from spring 2019 with funding from the Canadian financing system Mitacs. Professor Bryant has become an international partner in PoreLab and several new collaborative projects are planned.
The cooperation between University of Calgary and NTNU on CO2 storage technology and EOR are achieved.
UCalgary and NTNU will cooperate to establish an advanced education and research program within two fields of mutual interest to both universities and countries: Increased oil recovery from producing hydrocarbon fields and development of advanced methods for monitoring underground storage of CO2. The education part of the program will be strengthen by exchange and refinement of curriculum within the two topics mentioned above. Exchange of MSc and PhD students between the two universities is another way to increase knowledge and learning. Both universities have a long and reputed research activities within CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) and IOR (Increased Oil Recovery). The plan is to strenghten and deepen these activities by establishing a solid ground for cooperation.
UCalgary has established a field lab for CO2-storage not too far from the university. At this field lab it is possible to conduct several experiments that might gain new insights into the process of storing CO2 in subsurface sedimentary layers. The field lab is or will be equipped with advanced geophysical sensors, enabling us to test research areas formulated as theories in practice. NTNU has access to geophysical data from the North Sea where it is possible to study similar scenarios as those in the more controlled field lab in Canada. By using seismic data acquired before and after an underground blow out, we can compare flow patterns with those in a controlled experiment.
Both NTNU and UCalgary has laboratory facilities for EOR studies, and especially within the field of nanoparticles. A joint collaboration within this field will certainly help to develop these laboratories further and produce more high relevant research for the purpose of increased oil recovery.
Key measures to achieve this cooperation is regular research visits, gather scientists at yearly meetings to discuss and present new results from research.