New technologies for permanent reservoir monitoring - the CaMI Field Research Station

Don Lawton

Don Lawton
University of Calgary and CMC Research Institutes Inc.

Monday, September 11th, 2017 – 11:30 AM MST
Bow Valley Club – Bow Valley Square, 370, 250 – 6th Ave SW


The Containment and Monitoring Institute (CaMI) of CMC Research Institutes, Inc. and the University of Calgary have constructed a Field Research Station (FRS) near Brooks, Alberta, for research into monitoring technologies for containment and conformance of fluids injected into the subsurface.  The FRS is a platform for development and performance validation of technologies intended for reservoir surveillance in general, as well as measurement, monitoring and verification (MMV) technologies for CO2 storage.  Outcomes of the research have adjacent applications such as assessing and monitoring steam chamber development and cap rock integrity during oil sands production, assessing fugitive emissions in shale gas production and monitoring CO2-enhanced oil recovery programs.

To address these challenges, the FRS has been established to undertake research into monitoring technologies in a realistic field setting. The facility is being used to test new MMV technologies as they are developed and commercialized.  These include new helical-wound digital acoustic sensing (DAS) optical fibre and a buried array of 3-component geophones for seismic monitoring and imaging, a permanent array of electrodes for electrical resistivity tomography, and surface and borehole-to-surface electromagnetic equipment.  An injector well and two observation wells have been completed to a depth of 350 m. Small volumes of CO2 will be injected into the Basal Belly River Sandstone between depths between 295 m to 302 m.  One of these observation wells has steel casing and has an integrated DAS and DTS fibre pack, pressure gauges and a fluid-sampling U-tube mounted on the outside of the casing.  The second observation well has fibreglass casing with 3C geophones, as well as DAS and DTS fibre and electrodes cemented behind the casing.   Continuously operating borehole and surface seismic sources will be installed and tested in late summer.

The facility hosts researchers from the University of Calgary and from many international research centres.  Our mandate is to collaborate with industry to undertake applied research into monitoring technologies, provide graduate student and industry professional training, and to engage in public outreach activities.  Ultimately, an important goal is the development of permanent monitoring systems coupled with machine learning, leading to continuous reservoir surveillance. 


Don Lawton is a Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary and served as Department Head from 1997 to 2002.  In addition to teaching his interests include acquisition, processing and interpretation of multicomponent seismic data, seismic anisotropy, integrated geophysical and geological studies in complex geological settings, and in advancing monitoring methods for the geological storage of CO2.  He is a founding member of CREWES. In 2013, he was appointed Director of the Containment and Monitoring Institute to lead research into monitoring technologies for secure geological carbon storage and other injection schemes. He was awarded the CSEG Medal in 2000 and received Honorary Membership in the Society in 2014.