Site visit to CaMI (Containment and Monitoring Institute Research Site), Tuesday 20th August 2019


By James Craig

27 August 2019

CaMI is a research site set up by the University of Calgary near the town of Brooks in southern Alberta.Prior to the combined Monitoring and Environmental Research network meeting organised by IEAGHG and the University of Calgary, delegates benefited from a guided tour of the site and its experimental monitoring activities.The CaMI site was established in 2015 as a test site for controlled releases and the associated evaluation of monitoring techniques.The subsurface is not gas saturation at this location and the flat, unobstructed landscape makes it ideal for testing different monitoring techniques.Once fully operational CO2 will be injected into a reservoir at around 300m.The objective here is to track the CO2 as it migrates away from the injection point.Comparison between pre-injection baseline conditions and subsequent CO2 release will enable researchers to study how CO2 migrates through the stratigraphic horizons.

Geophysical techniques deployed at this site include an infra-red laser detection system that is capable of trace atmospheric green-house gas analysis such as methane and CO2.Other techniques include convention seismic refraction and reflection using surface arrays of geophones, downhole vertical seismic profiling using a surface vibration source, and passive seismic monitoring to record background natural and induced seismic events.An electro-resistivity survey is being conducted in parallel to the surface geophysical survey which provides an excellent comparative assessment of both techniques.Geochemical fluid analysis is also in progress.One potentially exciting technique is the use of naturally occurring noble gases present in the ground water and the delivered CO2.Sophisticated isotopic analysis can provide a background signature of both fluids.Results clearly show that the injected CO2 is geochemically distinct enabling its present to be detected without the use of added tracers.

The CaMI site visit was a perfect start to the two-day network meeting which included presentation and discussion on monitoring techniques. 

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