Core drilling next for CarbonSAFE
By Annette Tait
Oliver County residents and those passing through will soon see the tall tower of a drilling rig south of Center. The CarbonSAFE Project team from the Energy & Environmental Research Center at University of North Dakota will use the drilling rig for the next phase of its study into the Broom Creek Formation: collection of what they hope will be a continuous 300-ft. core of rock. The core sample will allow the team to study subsurface rock layers in the sandstone formation that lies approximately 6,000 ft. beneath the surface, to determine if it could potentially provide carbon dioxide (CO2) storage for gas produced as a byproduct of coal-fired power plants, oil and gas refineries, agricultural processing plants, and cement plants.
“We want a layer-by-layer record – we’ll collect samples of the rock every 30 feet, to identify the type of subterranean formation it is a part of,” EERC Senior Operations Specialist Lonny Jacobson said, noting that the process will be taken slowly, to make sure everything is captured in the correct order.
Once the drilling rig reaches the Broom Creek formation, the drill bit will be changed to allow the team to capture the core sample.