Cenovus say research proves Weyburn CO2 project safe

Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:51pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Cenovus Energy Inc said on Tuesday studies have confirmed that carbon dioxide sequestered underground at its Weyburn, Saskatchewan, field has not been leaking or causing high concentration of the gas at a neighboring property.

The company said independent research proved that carbon dioxide injected into its oil field to boost production and remove the gas from the atmosphere was not escaping.

Earlier this year, a couple living near Cenovus's Weyburn unit, the world's largest carbon dioxide sequestration project, claimed gas may be leaking onto their property, killing animals and carbonating a pond so that the water in it looked like soda pop. The allegations raised doubts about whether carbon dioxide could be safely pumped underground for permanent storage, where it would not contribute to global warming

But Cenovus, which has been injecting carbon dioxide into the oil field since 2000, said a study of isotopes in the gas it buries proved the field was safe and that the gas at the neighboring property was recently formed.

"The CO2 that Cenovus injects comes from coal deposits, which were formed millions of years ago," Court Sandau, the lead scientist for the assessment, said in a statement issued by the company. "Our findings assert that the CO2 present at the property was formed recently."

"The CO2 that Cenovus injects comes from coal deposits, which were formed millions of years ago," Court Sandau, a PhD in analytical chemistry and the lead scientist for the assessment, said in a statement issued by the company. "Our findings assert that the CO2 present at the property was formed recently."

Cenovus's Weyburn oil field, located in southeast Saskatchewan, is currently producing 27,000 barrels of oil per day.

Cenovus shares were up 37 Canadian cents at C$31.46 late on Tuesday afternoon morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting Scott Haggett in Toronto and Arnav Das Sharma in Bangalore; editing by Peter Galloway)