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On March 5 and 6 a delegation from Saskatchewan was in The Hague, the Netherlands for meetings with different companies and research organizations leading to the signing of agreements in the areas of enhanced oil recovery and carbon capture and storage (CCS) research. The delegation was headed by the Honorable Rob Norris (Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration) and including Dr. Malcolm Wilson (CEO of the Regina-based Petroleum Technology Research Centre), Mr. Mike Monea (President of Carbon Capture and Storage Initiatives with SaskPower) and Mr. Jerome Konecsni (CEO of Innovation Saskatchewan).

The PTRC – current manager of the largest CO2 storage project in the world with the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas Programme Weyburn-Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project – is also a world leader at improving recovery rates and environmental impacts of oil production particularly in difficult-to-access deposits like heavy and tight oil formations. Two of the key meetings in the Netherlands were with officials from CATO-2 (a research consortium of some 40 partners conducting carbon capture and storage R&D in the Netherlands) and INCAS3, a not-for profit company established to develop Dutch sensors that could have significant impacts on oil recovery in Canada and globally.

At a ceremony hosted at the Official Residence of the Canadian Ambassador to the Netherlands on March 5, Minister Norris and Dr. Wilson signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with INCAS3 towards the creation of a not-for-profit company to develop and deploy micro-sensor technology to the oil industry.

“The research being conducted by the PTRC and INCAS3 could have significant implications for the oil industry in Canada, and in particular Saskatchewan. The cooperation is a great example of two not-for-profit companies sharing knowledge and expertise to solve key industrial and environmental issues,” said Mr. James Lambert, the Canadian Ambassador to the Netherlands. “As in many other industries where our institutions and companies work collaboratively, both countries can benefit from the research and improvements initiatives of this nature bring.”

“Through this new Canadian/Dutch company we have the opportunity to apply our expertise to challenging measurement problems, like oil reservoir charting, in an environment that provides the ultimate test for the robustness and reliability of our sensor systems”, says John van Pol, Managing Director of INCAS3.

March 6th saw the signing of a second MOU between CATO-2, the University of Utrecht, the PTRC and University of Regina at the head offices of TNO (the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) in Delft. TNO is the organization that manages the CATO consortium. The MOU covers a wide variety of potential collaborations related to CCS, from exchange of graduate students and researchers, to sharing of research results and collaborative projects.

“Linking the PTRC’s world-class research into carbon storage and enhanced oil recovery with two organizations in Europe that offer potential solutions to major challenges in Saskatchewan in particular is a win-win situation for both Canadian and Dutch researchers,” noted Dr. Wilson, “and of course the PTRC has a wealth of knowledge to share with our colleagues in Europe about the successful implementation of CCS projects.”

Dr. Jan Brouwer of CATO-2 concurred, "Whereas climate skepticism seems to be the buzz-word nowadays, it is good to see that some countries take their responsibility and invest in technology development that will help us in the transition to a clean and sustainable society. I welcome the cooperation between PTRC and CATO and trust that the formalization of such cooperation through signing an MOU will encourage interaction of, and be beneficial to, R&D communities in both countries."

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