Carbon Capture and Storage
To meet global targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and avoid irreversible climate change, a collection of different actions is needed from countries around the world. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the US administration and our own federal government agree that carbon capture and storage is crucial to help the world make necessary, long-term reductions in greenhouse gases.
Alberta has made a $1.3 billion commitment to this clean energy technology. This investment will result in a collection of projects, pipelines, storage and financing that is unique in the world.
How It Works
Carbon capture and storage projects are being pursued around the world in a variety of countries, including Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fully supports carbon capture and storage technology, as does the International Energy Agency.
The Canadian government is also working closely with the United States government on a North American Clean Energy Dialogue. One of the key pillars in the dialogue is looking at joint carbon capture and storage opportunities.
One of the key pillars in the dialogue is looking at joint carbon capture and storage opportunities.
Projects in North America, Norway and North Africa have safely stored millions of tonnes of CO2 underground for years.
Why It Works in Alberta
Alberta's geology is ideal for the injection and long-term, secure storage of CO2. The rock formations of the Western Sedimentary Basin that have stored oil and natural gas for millions of years can safely store liquefied CO2.
CO2 is stored several hundred metres below ground water. Storage sites are monitored to ensure there is no impact on public safety or the environment throughout the life of the project, and after the site has been sealed.
Unique Emissions Profile
The majority of Alberta's emissions come from large industrial facilities like coal-fired power plants and oil and gas facilities that are more appropriate for commercial-scale carbon capture and storage.
Enhanced Oil Recovery
Alberta's oil and gas industry has been using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery successfully for decades to produce oil from depleting reservoirs.
Enhanced oil recovery is a means to obtain more conventional oil -- and the resulting royalties, taxes, economic growth and jobs -- while using infrastructure already in place.
Best estimates show that 1.4 billion barrels of otherwise untapped oil could be produced from existing conventional reservoirs in Alberta with carbon capture and storage, generating between $11 billion and $25 billion in provincial royalties and taxes.
The two projects supported through Alberta’s $1.3 billion CCS funding program are:
- Alberta Carbon Trunk Line - This 240-kilometre pipeline will connect the Sturgeon Refinery and the Agrium fertilizer plant with enhanced oil recovery projects in central Alberta. The Sturgeon Refinery, announced in 2012, is the first refinery in Canada to have built in carbon capture.
- Shell Quest - The project is retrofitting the Scotford bitumen upgrader near Fort Saskatchewan for CCS. The project is designed for up to 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 captured per year, piped 80 kilometres north and injected more than two kilometres below the earth’s surface.
A number of international CCS experts will help guide the development of a world-class CCS regulartory system to ensure this technology is used in a safe and effective way in Alberta.