At Whitecap Resources, we’re proud to be the operator and majority owner of the Weyburn Unit in southeast Saskatchewan. This development injects carbon dioxide safely and responsibly deep underground to increase oil production from one of Canada’s largest crude oil reservoirs. It is backed by years of extensive scientific research and today is recognized as the world’s largest underground geological CO2 sequestration project.Weyburn unit - Frequently Asked Questions
Collecting waste emissions
We purchase CO2 from the coal-fired Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan and a coal gasification project in North Dakota. Without the Weyburn Unit, the majority of CO2 would otherwise be released to the atmosphere.
1.8 Million Tonnes of CO2
= to planting 2,800 square kilometres of trees to absorb carbon.
Safe Injection of CO2
We inject CO2 in liquid form at high pressure into the producing formation 1,500m underground. Injecting CO2 deep underground safely stores carbon.
3Xthe height of the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.
Sustainable Oil Production
The CO2 acts likes a solvent to flush otherwise unrecoverable oil from pores in the rock. This results in incremental oil production that could not be achieved with conventional means.
Extracting Valuable Products
At the surface, oil and natural gas liquids are extracted for sale. The CO2 produced during oil recovery is returned to the reservoir so that all injected CO2 is permanently stored deep underground.
We purchase CO2 from the coal-fired Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan, and a coal gasification project in North Dakota. Without the Weyburn Unit, the majority of CO2 would otherwise be released to the atmosphere.
We inject CO2 in liquid form at high pressure into the producing formation 1,500 metres underground. Injecting CO2 deep underground safely stores carbon
The CO2 acts live a solvent to flush otherwise unrecoverable oil from pores in the rock. This results in incremental oil productions that could not be achieved with conventional means.
At the surface, oil and natural gas liquid are extracted for sale. The CO2 produced during the recovery is returned to the reservoir so that all injected CO2 is permanently stored deep underground.
While the Weyburn Unit delivers sustainable growth, there’s much more to its story. The operation also benefits the environment, has sustained generations of families with jobs and contributes to the Saskatchewan economy, all the while providing value to shareholders.
The Weyburn Unit is located a short 30-minute drive south of the city of Weyburn.
production in 2019.
jobs (direct and indirect) for Saskatchewan residents.
Low Decline Rate
With a low base decline rate of 3-5%, Weyburn Unit provides steady energy production over time. This translates into less capital requirements to sustain production rates.
104 million barrels
CO2 enhanced oil recovery at Weyburn has generated 104 million barrels of incremental production to date, adding value from the resource.
We inject CO2 to maximize well performance, keeping a small footprint and safely storing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions underground.
1.8 million tonnes CO2
are stored each year as part of enhanced oil recovery. This exceeds our company's total GHG emissions (direct and indirect).
> 31 Million Tonnes CO2
has been sequestered since 2000.
That's equal to taking 6 million cars off the road for an entire year.
> $3.5 Billion
in added value to the provincial economy since CO2 enhanced oil recovery began in 2000.*
* Capital and operating expenses, government taxes and royalties.
Predictable free Cash flow
> $100 Million
Weyburn's stable production adds predictable free cash flow (2019, after capital spending), supporting our dividend payments.
It’s a multi-stage process that involves capturing and compressing CO2 and injecting it deep into oil and natural gas geological formations to generate higher recovery rates than would be achieved otherwise.
Since it was discovered in the 1950s, the Weyburn field has been one of Canada’s largest crude oil reservoirs (original oil in place is estimated to be 1.5 billion barrels). This field has benefitted from a number of innovative developments — including the start of CO2 enhanced oil recovery in 2000. At the same time, the field was also the focus of a major international research initiative to monitor CO2 stored by this development. Today Weyburn is recognized as the world’s largest underground geological CO2 storage project.
There are two main benefits: First, it significantly increases the amount of oil recovered and extends the productive life of a maturing field like Weyburn. Second, it reduces carbon emissions by safely storing CO2 underground. To date, Weyburn has safely sequestered more than 31 million tonnes of CO2.
It involves injecting high pressure CO2 into the oil formation. The CO2 acts like a solvent, causing oil to expand and flow more easily to production wells. As the oil is pumped to the surface, injected CO2 is collected, compressed and reinjected underground to a depth of 1.5 kilometres. Injecting CO2 into deep, underground rock formations safely stores the carbon.
The Weyburn field is backed by years of extensive scientific research. These studies have determined that there is little to no release of CO2 from the field. In addition, we maintain a strong continued focus on wellbore integrity and proactively run multiple tests each year to ensure the CO2 stays permanently underground.
For many years, Whitecap has been an active producer in Saskatchewan. In 2017, we increased our presence in the province, acquiring a 62% working interest and operatorship of the 210 square kilometre Weyburn property. This acquisition is a continuation of Whitecap’s strategy to enhance our existing oil portfolio with assets that provide lower production declines, high operating netbacks and significant growth opportunities. In addition, the Weyburn Unit is a hugely successful carbon capture, utilization and storage project.
The Weyburn Unit remains strategic to Whitecap’s business. Our long-term objective is to maximize the recovery of this huge oil resource. This will ensure responsible resource development that continues to provide value to shareholders and the Saskatchewan economy while storing CO2 that would otherwise have been emitted.
Colby Mainil, Production EngineerWeyburn Unit, Whitecap Resources