Subsurface containment issues focus of new CMC institute

Dr. Don Lawton

Dr. Don Lawton, CaMI Director

Carbon Management Canada is proud to announce its first research institute – the Containment and Monitoring Institute (CaMI).

“We are really excited about this new institute,” says Richard Adamson, CMC Managing Director. “It’s unlike any other in the world and its arrival is attracting the attention of experts from around the world.”

Assurance of containment is necessary

The Institute, hosted at the University of Calgary, will focus on developing solutions to containment issues associated with subsurface activities. Both regulators and public stakeholders need to be assured that liquids and gases in the subsurface are secure and contained. As a result, there are significant research and technology development opportunities associated with this challenging field and that’s where CaMI has an important role to play

Don Lawton, Director of CaMI and University of Calgary Chair in Exploration Geophysics, says the need for a subsurface research institute is critical at the current time.

“Containment failure is not an option. It may lead to delays in resource production or loss of efficacy of fluid storage or disposal. It also leads to a decrease of public confidence. There is an urgent need to better characterize containment risks in both natural and engineered systems,” he says.

Field Research Station under development

Key to operations at CaMI will be its field research stations (FRS) where new and current technologies can be field tested under a variety of real-world operating conditions.

The first of these, FRS#1, is under development and will focus on the field development and performance validation of sensors, instruments and analyses associated with:

  • measurement, monitoring and verification (MMV) related to carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), fugitive emissions associated with hydraulic fracturing, and also for CO2 enhanced oil recovery and assessment of steam chamber containment;
  • monitoring associated with other acid gas disposal projects; and
  • containment verification, monitoring and mitigation associated with exploration, production, stimulation and storage activities.

“The field research station will be unique because it focuses on issues in the shallow subsurface,” says Lawton, “As far as we know, this is the only site of its kind in the world.”

Two injector wells will be drilled to target depths of 300 and 700 meters, and cap rock and reservoir horizons for both levels will be cored for geomechanical analysis, mineralogy and cap rock studies. Observation wells will be fully instrumented with both permanent and retrieval sensors. The periodic injection of small volumes of CO2 will be tracked by these down-hole monitoring technologies as well as by surface technologies.

CMC is inviting industry to join in this collaborative venture through sponsorship or contract R&D projects. Agreements with the University of Calgary are being negotiated to use the site as a training facility for students and post-graduate research.

For more information on how to be a sponsor or to contract for work on FRS facilities, contact Don Lawton at or call 403 210 6671.

For details, click here