Through our celebration of inspiring Canadian innovators during Canadian Innovation Week, we would like to highlight the important work by one of Innovation Saskatchewan’s program partners, the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC), as they #InnovateToInspire - changing the world one idea at a time.
PTRC facilitates research, development, and demonstration projects to reduce carbon footprint and increase the production of subsurface energy, while collaborating with organizations, governments, and research providers in their environmental, social, and governance needs. With over 24 years of industry experience, they are able to showcase their expertise in Carbon Capture, Utilization & Storage (CCUS), Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), and other research areas at a local, national, and international level.
PTRC’s research has led to many world-changing initiatives, including:
The Aquistore Project is the most comprehensive full-scale geological field laboratory for CO2 storage in the world that has delegations from over 20 countries visiting the site. PTRC leads the ongoing CO2 measurement, monitoring, and verification project to demonstrate that storing carbon dioxide over 3km deep underground in a brine and sandstone water formation is a safe, workable solution to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“Through Aquistore, 428,000 tonnes of CO2 are taken out of the atmosphere, which equals about 107,000 cars off the road for a year. This research contributes significantly to the advancement of clean technology as it cleans the atmosphere, reducing CO2 footprint in Saskatchewan and globally,” shares Ranjith (Ran) Narayanasamy, Chief Executive Officer of PTRC.
Aquistore is also uniquely positioned to assist governments and regulators meet targets for safer, cleaner, and more sustainable industries. Norm Sacuta, Director of Communications at PTRC, adds, “Right now, PTRC has been consulting with energy companies in Alberta in their commercial-scale carbon capture and storage projects, and we’ve started to see a lot of progress. Having PTRC be recognized as the expert in carbon storage is definitely something to be proud of when it comes to innovation in Saskatchewan.”
While a Canadian project, the Aquistore has significant international impact as it provides opportunities in capability-building through innovative research, training, and education to global partners.
PTRC’s Heavy Oil Research Network (HORNET) focuses on improving recovery from existing heavy oil reservoirs that are experiencing low (under 10%) recovery rates. Each incremental increase (1%) in oil recovery from Saskatchewan’s 22 billion barrels of heavy oil in place can mean tremendous economic activity for the province of Saskatchewan.
HORNET sponsors research in key heavy oil areas such as Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS) and post-CHOPS, Cyclic Solvent Injection (CSI), waterflood and chemical flood optimization, and more, to improve recovery rates and overall environmental impacts.
In conjunction with PTRC’s research in heavy oil, they are now exploring CO2 storage in the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Region. Their White Paper on CO2 Storage in the Heavy Oil Zone discusses the challenges posed in this region, such as a shallower depth (~1KM) of deep saline aquifers compared to that of the Aquistore Project.
“We’re currently at the early stages of research in the lab on CO2 storage in shallower levels, which we believe is a highly innovative component of what we do at PTRC. We want to help oil companies and other industrial emitters in the Lloydminster area find a way to store their emissions,” Sacuta explains. “Innovation Saskatchewan plays a crucial role in supporting our research and development.”
PTRC anticipates being in the field trial stage for this project within two to three years.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR PTRC?
With high-quality research and progress within the environmental and energy industries, as well as support from major organizations and institutions including the Natural Resources Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and the Saskatchewan Research Council, PTRC has fostered the expansion of research and commercialization capacity in Canada to be able to spearhead initiatives that address environmental and other global challenges.
“In three to five years, we want Saskatchewan to be the hub for CCUS. We have the best measurement, monitoring, and verification program for CO2, and we want to be able to lead the commercialization of the carbon storage process in Canada and throughout the world,” Narayanasamy shares.
PTRC will also continue to help researchers, educational & governmental institutions, and other organizations use the skills they have developed in all the collaborative projects involving CCUS, EOR, and petroleum engineering as a whole.
As PTRC aims to be the leader in research and innovation to develop sustainable and environmentally responsible energy, we look forward to seeing their progress and contributions to the innovation system of Saskatchewan!