|The carbon capture process at the Scotford oil sands upgrader will capture about 35% of emissions. Click to enlarge.|
Shell has signed agreements with the Governments of Alberta and Canada to secure C$865 million (US$876 million) in funding for its Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project in Canada. (Earlier post.) The Quest Project will capture and permanently store deep underground more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year—about 35% of the total emissions—from Shell’s Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton, Alberta, which processes heavy oil from the Athabasca oil sands.
CO2 will be captured from the upgrader’s hydrogen manufacturing units (steam methane reformers) by an absorber vessel using an amine solvent. The CO2 will then be released from the amine by heating, and dehydrated and compressed into a dense fluid for pipeline transport.
|CO2 injection at Quest. Click to enlarge.|
Wastewater collected from the amine wash water vessels, the triethylene glycol dehydration unit, and the compressor knockout drums will be treated in the existing wastewater treatment plants at Scotford Base Plant and Expansion 1.
The CO2 will be transported by an 84 km (52-mile), 12-inch (30.5 cm) pipeline to injection wells north of Shell Scotford and permanently stored more than two kilometers (1.24 miles) underground into the deepest saline aquifer formation in Alberta (the Basal Cambrian Sands) beneath several layers of impermeable rock.
The signing of the funding agreement was announced as part of an event marking the earlier start-up of Shell’s 100,000-barrel-per-day expansion of its Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), bringing total capacity to 255,000 barrels per day. The AOSP includes the Muskeg River Mine, Jackpine Mine and Scotford.
Quest would be the first application of CCS technology for an oil sands upgrading operation. Not only would it allow us to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of our oil sands operation here in Alberta, but it will contribute to the global knowledge that will help to get other CCS projects up and running more quickly.—John Abbott, Shell’s Executive Vice President of Heavy Oil
Regulatory applications for the Quest Project were submitted in November 2010. The signing of the funding agreements represents another important milestone prior to Shell taking a financial investment decision in 2012, subject to the outcome of the regulatory process and economic feasibility.
The Quest Project is being advanced on behalf of the AOSP, a joint venture among Shell Canada (60%) Chevron Canada Limited (20%) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20%).
Shell is seeking to improve its oil sands environmental performance through CO2 reduction, improved water management and minimizing the impacts of tailings ponds. A number of technological solutions, including CCS, will be required to achieve that goal, the company said.
With CO2 injection planned for 2015, the Quest Project would join a handful of CCS projects around the world that are injecting CO’ at a commercial scale. Shell is working with governments and other experts globally on both political and technical levels to facilitate the development and wide-scale deployment of CCS; the company is involved in progressing a number of projects around the world, across a wide range of sectors.
M. Winkler et al. (2010) The Dynamic Aspect of Formation Storage Use for CO2 Sequestration. (SPE 139730-MS) doi: 10.2118/139730-MS