Internship offers geologist experience with carbon storage

Jacky Barazza

Jacky Barazza

Author: Jacky Barraza, Geomodeler with Canacol Energy Ltd

NOTE: Earlier this year, geoscientist Jacky Barraza worked for three months as an intern with CMC’s Containment and Monitoring Institute team. For its support of Barraza, CMC was presented with an appreciation award from the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS).

My involvement with CMC

I was part of an engineering group selected to participate in a training initiative called the “Engineering and Technology Upgrading Program,” which is entirely funded by the Government of Alberta and delivered through the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS). This program serves as a bridging opportunity for foreign-trained engineers and provides information, guidance, and knowledge to integrate people into the Canadian workplace.

CMC staff with Jacky Barazza. From left: Amin Saeedfar, Joan Smart, Jacky Barazza, and Don Lawton with Calgary Catholic Immigration Society award.

CMC staff with Jacky Barazza. From left: Amin Saeedfar, Joan Smart, Jacky Barazza, and Don Lawton with Calgary Catholic Immigration Society award.

The program includes four months of training and three months of internship. During my search for an internship, I was connected with Prof. Don Lawton, Director of the Containment and Monitoring Institutes (CaMI), who gave me the opportunity to work at CaMI.  I got involved in a Field Research Station project to upgrade the geological reservoir model with new well information and provide input to evaluate the behavior of the CO2 injected in the reservoir by building a numerical model to consider injection approaches and to evaluate long-term storage integrity. I also performed several sensitivity analyses with Computer Modeling Group software.

What do I do?

I’m a Geologist and I began my path in the oil & gas industry in Petroleos de Venezuela. After finishing my masters degree, I got involved in the consultancy professional services. I help businesses evaluate oil & gas fields to get the best from several disciplines. During my previous geological modeling experience, I worked on multiple projects worldwide, interpreting and integrating information used for oil & gas field development plans and hydrocarbon volume estimation. This was the first time I worked on a CO2 sequestration project but I’m fairly certain it won’t be the last.

While at CMC, my role was to upgrade a numerical model of an old oil field with new well information, the rock type’s features, and its ability to allow fluids to pass through it. The main difference with this model to all previous models I have built is that rather than modeling for the purpose of estimating volumes of oil & gas, the injection of CO2 was the end goal. This meant that I had to think differently. Some of the challenges are similar, such as finding the right path for fluids to pass through the rock and identifying flow barriers. Others are different, such as avoiding CO2 leaks to the surface.

The key feature in any geological model is striking a balance between honoring the geological complexity of the subsurface while not constructing something that is overly complex/ cumbersome to simulate.  In this instance, it comes down to capturing in the model the reservoir’s capacity to store a quantifiable volume of CO2.

The CMC experience

I really enjoyed my time working with CMC’s team. The research and development project presented an interesting and challenging experience for me and my knowledge curve was ramped up significantly. As a geologist it was deeply satisfying to be a part of a project which works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it gave me another perspective on future opportunities in my area.  I am convinced of the value and viability of carbon capture and storage as a technique to help limit CO2 emissions and that’s why I intend to develop my skills in this growing field.

About the Author

Jacky Barazza, a Geoscientist with an M.Sc. in Paleontology, Sedimentology and Paleoenvironment from the École Normale Supérieure – Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France, was part of the Engineering and Technology Upgrading Program – an initiative operated by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. The program provides foreign trained engineers the opportunity to upgrade their skills to work in Canada. Following her work with CMC, Jacky obtained employment with Canacol Energy Ltd. where she is a Geomodeler.