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Carbon Storage Onshore Nova Scotia – Injection Site Characterization

Lead Proponent:  CCS Research Consortium of Nova Scotia (CCSNS)
Location:  Nova Scotia
ecoEII Contribution:  $ 4,500,000
Project Total:  $ 7,700,000

Project Background:

Carbon Capture and Storage Research Consortium of Nova Scotia (CCSNS) is a non-profit organization consisting of the Province of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Power Inc. and Dalhousie University.  The mandate of CCSNS is to conduct research on issues related to the capture, transport and geological storage (CCS) of stationary-sourced CO2 emissions, and investigate how it may be applied to Nova Scotia in a safe and environmentally acceptable manner. Given this mandate, CCSNS developed an integrated program to address knowledge and technology gaps for the application of CCS in Nova Scotia.  The project Carbon Storage Onshore Nova Scotia – Injection Site Characterization is part of the program and would help to acquire data required for onshore geological storage of CO2 in Nova Scotia.  EcoEII contributed $4.5 million towards the project to characterize and assess potential geologic sequestration formations in the Sydney sub-basin of Nova Scotia.


The process of determining a site for sequestration of carbon dioxide utilizes proven characterization methods adapted from standard exploratory geophysical (seismic) and drilling methodology that is commonly practiced in the oil and gas industry.  The project began with a 2D seismic program that was intended to identify the location and extent of a target reservoir (Horton Group) in the Sydney sub-basin.  All the necessary approvals including over 80 landowner permissions were obtained.  With the aid of contractors, locations of seismic lines were identified and a seismic acquisition plan was developed.  The location, layout, field procedures including health and safety issues, acquisition parameters, and the processing work flow were established.  Tenders were evaluated and a seismic contractor was awarded a contract for deployment of seismic rigs and crew, with seismic work commencing in the fall of 2013. 

Seismic data were collected and processed, and results indicated the potential presence of a suitable reservoir for carbon storage.  Potential locations for a drilling program were identified and by the summer of 2014, a final drilling location in the Sydney sub-basin was chosen.  A drilling program was developed.  It included site preparation, mobilization of a drilling rig, construction and testing of a borehole and demobilization.  Borehole testing would include collection of core samples, a geotechnical analysis of core samples, collection and analysis of fluid samples from formations, as well as wireline logging of the borehole using a variety of tools to analyse various parameters required for the assessment of reservoir.

Drilling began in the fall of 2014.  The presence of the Windsor group (potential CO2reservoir seal) was observed down to 1300 meters.  A geological formation of volcanic rocks was encountered at depths beyond 1300 meters. The drilling work did not encounter the targeted Horton formation with the suitable porosity or permeability for CO2 storage.  After a depth of 1500 meters was drilled, the decision was made to end the program.  Other indicators suggested the presence of Horton in the area; however the target reservoir was not achieved.

Benefits to Canada:

Although the results did not indicate the potential for storing carbon dioxide in the Sydney sub-basin, the project advanced site characterization of the Sydney sub-basin. Results were used to update the geological model of Nova Scotia through the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Energy.  Moreover, data gathered may be transferable to the entire Appalachian region of North America, in order to advance and prove the viability of CCS as a bridging technology for reducing GHG emissions.

Next Steps:

Without the presence of a suitable reservoir, the geological storage of carbon dioxide will not be possible within Nova Scotia. The focus still remains on finding this potential reservoir.


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