International team concludes no CO2 leak on Kerr farm

Story courtesy IPAC-CO2.
Carbon Management Canada sourced experts for this independent review.

REGINA, CANADA – Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not leaking from depth on the farm owned by Cameron and Jane Kerr, IPAC-CO2 Research Inc. concluded in a 180-page report released today.

“The CO2 injected by Cenovus Energy as part of its enhanced oil recovery project is not the source of CO2 found on the Kerr farm,” said Dr. Carmen Dybwad, Chief Executive Officer of the environmental non-government organization.

“The levels of natural CO2 we found were normal.”

Cameron and Jane Kerr held a news conference on Jan. 11, 2011 demanding a full public investigation of problems related to surface and well water at their farm near Goodwater, in the vicinity of the Cenovus Weyburn operation. The Kerrs said they first noticed changes that occurred on their property in 2004, one year after carbon dioxide injection began near their farm.

International team assembled

Under the direction of Dr. Jerry Sherk, the Chief Operating Officer of IPAC-CO2, a team of international experts was assembled to conduct an independent investigation of the Kerr farm.

Dr. Katherine Romanak of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center, Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, U.S.A., led the investigation into soil gases.

She concluded that the fixed gas relationships and carbon isotope geochemistry of soil gas at the Kerr site “strongly and consistently show that CO2 on the Kerr property is biological in origin and not the result of leaks associated with the CO2 storage reservoir.”

CO2 from natural sources

“The evidence clearly showed that CO2 is from natural biologic respiration modified by mixing with atmosphere and dissolution of CO2 into recharging groundwater,” Romanak concluded.

Dr. Stuart Gilfillan, Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage, School of Geosciences, from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland tested the Kerr site for noble gases, carbon stable isotopes and hydrogen carbonate (HCO3).

“We find no evidence in any of the noble gas data derived within the ground waters surrounding the Kerr quarter that there is a detectible presence of noble gases derived from the deep injected water or CO2 or the fluids produced from the Weyburn field,” Gilfillan concluded.

No evidence of migration

“The absence of crustal derived noble gases derived from depth means that there is no evidence of the migration of CO2 from the Weyburn oil field into the groundwater on the Kerr quarter or surrounding area.”

Dr. Brad D. Wolaver and Dr. Changbing Yang, also from the University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. Janis Dale, Department of Geology, University of Regina, Canada conducted the hydrogeological analysis of the Kerr site.

Their research concluded (a) that shallow groundwater quality at the site meets Saskatchewan’s Drinking Water Quality Standards and Objectives for the analytes tested, and (b) that the film on gravel pits and in the Kerr well was not a petroleum product but instead was floating colonies of both iron-reducing and iron-oxidizing bacteria.

“Our goal was to reduce uncertainty regarding the sources of carbon dioxide detected on the property owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kerr,” said IPAC-CO2’s Dybwad.

Results are conclusive

“Our results are conclusive and provide scientific evidence that any such incidents cannot be attributed to leakage of injected CO2 because there was no leak at the Kerr property.”

The International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (IPAC-CO2) is a not-for-profit organization created in 2009 with the support of public and private sector organizations.

IPAC-CO2 works to find solutions that support the safe capture and storage of CO2, contributing to the long-term sustainability of planet Earth and its inhabitants, and advances knowledge about geologic storage by sharing, exchanging and cooperating with global industry stakeholders.

Download the Executive Summary of the Kerr Investigation
Kerr Report-Executive Summary Final-07-12-11

Download Media Release
IPAC-CO2-Kerr Report-News Release


Carmen Dybwad, PhD., Chief Executive Officer
IPAC-CO2 Research Inc.

Joe Ralko, ABC
Director of Communications
IPAC-CO2 Research Inc.