Alternative Fuels, Research

Revealing the Past with Rock Core

Drill rig at Minnkota’s drilling site near Center, ND

From mid-May to mid-June 2020, members of the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) field operations team worked rotating shifts at Minnkota Power Cooperative’s drilling site near Center, North Dakota. The operations team assisted in collecting geologic data, including nearly 1300 feet of core from the well being drilled at this location. Moving forward, the well will serve as a monitoring site for Minnkota’s Project Tundra CO2 carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

The EERC team was on-site to assist in selection of where to core, describe and catalog the core, oversee well logging and testing operations, and collect water samples. Core samples are typically taken from sedimentary rocks that are expected to store injected CO2. This core collection operation also included nearly 70 feet of Precambrian-aged metamorphic and igneous basement rock of the Williston Basin, underneath the sedimentary rock for the purpose of investigating the geologic stability of the region. The primary sedimentary injection target in North Dakota, the Broom Creek Formation, is around 300 million years old, and the secondary sedimentary target, the Deadwood Formation, is nearly 600 million years old. The Precambrian basement rock is estimated to be 1.5 – 2.0 billion years old.

Much of the testing done on core taken from this site was completed at the EERC during summer 2020, and the testing will be used to develop a North Dakota CO2 storage facility permit proposal for Minnkota and Project Tundra.  

 “Thank you to the EERC team for the tremendous amount of teamwork and dedication shown by every individual.  Everyone was willing to work beyond their standard 8 hours and assist team members whenever large events took place, no matter the time of day or weather.”

Lonny Jacobson,
EERC Principal Operations Specialist and Oilfield Operations Team Lead

The EERC’s field team included Lonny Jacobson, Agustinus Zandy, Carrie Fagerland, Colin McNabb-Seidl, Ian Feole, Santosh Patil, Zahra Finnigan, Ben Oster, John Oleksik, Cody Williamson, and Marc Kurz. The team performed well in the field, especially under COVID-19 mitigation procedures while crews were required to be on-site. We are grateful for all your hard work and congratulate you on another successful field operation!

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