Results from the Brine Sampling Project: Investigating the Lithium Potential of Brines in Saskatchewan

  • 2019 Technical Conference Program
  • May 29, 2019
  • 9:30 am - 10:00 am

WBPC 2019 Abstract #8:

 Deep formation brines are a source of a variety of industrial minerals in other basins around the globe, including compounds of lithium, bromine, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. Typically, only major ions analyses are completed, and these trace elements are not included in routine oil and gas analysis. The recent surge in lithium carbonate demand has resulted in the need for other sources of lithium to be investigated; one such source could be formations waters.

In 2011, the Saskatchewan Geological Survey initiated a formation fluids sampling project that targeted currently producing oil and gas wells penetrating Paleozoic strata in Saskatchewan. The objective of this study is to investigate the abundance, and stratigraphic distribution, of naturally occurring minerals in the formational brines in the province of Saskatchewan. The geochemical analyses from these samples are the first to populate a public “exploratory” database of trace element compositions of sub-surface brines in the province of Saskatchewan.

The application of halogen systematics can be applied to these newly collected samples which could elucidate the history of brine migration. These results may be able to provide a better understanding of the fluid migration in the basin and the potential for future hydrocarbon and mineral discoveries. Preliminary results indicate that some samples derive their salinity from evaporitic concentration while other samples derive their salinity from halite dissolution.

Another factor that was investigated was the possibility of varying brine composition through time. Wells that displayed high concentrations of lithium were resampled five years apart to determine if the brine composition had varied.

These initial results could foster another industry in the Province of Saskatchewan and lead to a better understanding of fluid migration in the Williston Basin.