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Canada and Alberta to Invest C$865M in Athabasca Oil Sands Carbon Capture and Storage Project

Overview of the Quest CCS project. Click to enlarge.

The provincial government of Alberta and the federal government of Canada will invest C$865 million (US$822 million) in a large-scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in the Athabasca oil sands. The province signed a Letter of Intent with Shell Canada Energy, on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project—a joint venture among Shell Canada (60%), Chevron Canada Limited (20%) and Marathon Oil Sands L.P. (20%)—to provide C$745 million in funding from its $2 billion CCS fund for the Quest CCS project over the next 15 years.

The Government of Canada is also contributing C$120 million toward this project through the Clean Energy Fund to help demonstrate CCS technology and advance Canada’s leadership on clean energy technologies while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy production.

Quest is a fully integrated CCS scheme, meaning it would capture, transport, inject and store CO2. The project will capture and store up to 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year from the Scotford Upgrader and from the Scotford Upgrader Expansion. The CO2 will be captured from the steam methane reforming units (SMR), which produce hydrogen for upgrading oil sands bitumen, using ADIPX (activated amine). It will require approximately 20 MW of compression, with numerous piping and electrical tie-ins to existing facilities required for integration. (SMR performance and reliability cannot be compromised, Shell notes.)

The CO2 will be transported by pipeline to an injection location northeast of the Scotford Complex and injected 2,300 meters below the earth’s surface underneath cap rock. Two injection wells are in the test phase until early 2010. The total cost of the project is projected to be C$1.35 billion (US$1.28 billion).

The Alberta government has committed C$2 billion (US$1.9 billion) to advance CCS technology. Projects will be eligible to receive up to a maximum of 75% of the total incremental cost to capture, transport and store CO2. A maximum of up to 40% of the approved funding will be distributed during the design and construction stage based on achieved milestones and up to an additional 20% of the approved funding will be granted upon commercial operation. The remaining 40% of the funding will be paid as CO2 is captured and stored over a maximum period of 10 years.

A total of $100 million has been budgeted this fiscal year for engineering and design work. No funds will be dispersed until the companies enter into a funding agreement.

The Alberta government is still pursuing Letters of Intent with project proponents for the remaining available funding. Once all of the projects supported through Alberta’s CCS funding are fully developed, they are expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between four and five million tonnes per year beginning in 2015.



Nick Lyons

Carbon capture and storage at the Scotford Upgrader could reduce direct CO2 emissions of the upgrader by up to 40 per cent from business as usual, significantly reducing the greenhouse gas footprint of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project.

...from the Quest public disclosure document.

Up to 40% reduction from the upgrader alone. I wonder what is the total carbon footprint of tar sands development, and how big (or small) a dent this puts in that footprint.


Why should $815 M in public funds (Alberta & Canada) be used to capture the CO2 created/emited by major very profitable oil & NG firms?

Cummulative Provincial and Federal tax credits, given to the same firms, are most often more than their reported net income and nulify all income taxes on their net profits.

They realy have the best of both worlds. No income taxes to pay and governments will pay to clean up the environmental mess.

One day, those people (OIL and Coal) will stop recieving generous tax credits and will have to pay for all the damages they do, in a similar way tobacco firms have to pay $$$ B over a 25 year period.


That wont happen as long as we have SH as PM.


Doesn't stop them selling tobacco though,
There is general consensus amongst those in the CCS area that it won't be cheaper than solar thermal- IF it can be made to work.
Backing a dead horse with public moneys is not smart.

With so many "old" economy jobs at stake and the need to get on with quicker than Flash Gordon, It will be a minor player for a while yet.
Ordinary workers in the coal industry here seem to understand there will be more and better obs in the green economy and in Australia the majority of coal industry workers listen with interest to those who would educate rather than use the economic scare tactics to frighten them with their dire economic predictions.

Some sort of international agreements were entered into whereby Australia will throw money at CCS as we have such a high stake.
Other countries are focusing on their respective areas of interest.Nuclear, transport bio, etc.

We would hope the have the gumption to back the more realistic, less boostered technologies.



And SH is still young and there are no 2-terms limit yet.

Would it be possible to create a national clean up fund financed with extrated crude/oil sand and NG? Something like a 2% to 3% levy could do it.

Resources paid to the clean up fund would be quickly passed on to the end users in Canada and more and more in USA as NG and Oil are exported. Some would call it a disguised carbon tax, if they wish.


Well you know SH, he's more likely to cut taxes, again. Anything to increase his popularity and better his chances of a majority. Plus, he still believes in Reaganomics.


Politicians work on a 4 year election cycle. I can't believe this guy is still our PM.


hey i didn't vote for the guy! i want him out of office...

I blame all the young people that didn't go out there and vote


The $2 billion that the Alberta gov’t has committed to CCS is expected to capture & store 5 million MT of CO2. That’s $400 per MT of CO2.

One alternative is the Hyperion Nuclear Reactor. With 70 MW thermal output, well suited for providing process heat in the Tar Sands. Cost C$32 million. See:

With a zero CO2 output, it will produce 6.2 TWh of heat within 10 years, before needing refueling. Displacing NG, that will amount to 1.2 million MTs of CO2 avoided. Displacing Coal Thermal energy, that will amount to 1.8 million MTs of CO2 avoided.

Cost of NG CO2 avoided = C$32 million / 1.2 million MTs = $27 per MT.
Cost of Coal CO2 avoided = $17 per MT.

Compare with the Alberta Gov’t CCS special of $400 per MT.

But wait, were not done yet. That’s just using one fuel cycle. What about including two or three fuel cycles? Probably drops below $10 per MT. And then there is the destructive Coal mining and NG fracking pollution, NOx, SOx, H2S, mercury, arsenic and other pollutants avoided, with their associated health and environmental costs.

But there’s more to consider. We are also avoiding the cost of the Natural Gas or Coal fuel over the 10 year Hyperion fuel cycle.

Taking NG @ a forecast price of $7 per GJ, and using a 5%, 10 year bond to finance the NG purchases, that yields a Present Value of $121 million, fuel cost.

Taking Coal @ a delivered price of $50 per ton, that would be $43 million fuel cost.

Conclusion. Each Hyperion Nuclear reactor used instead of CCS, would save $480 million in CCS costs, and $121-$32 million = $89 million in NG fuel costs, or $12 million in Coal fuel costs. IN OTHER WORDS CCS IS NOT ONLY A FREE BONUS, BUT A MONEYSAVER!! AND THAT’S JUST FOR ONE FUEL CYCLE!!

Carlos Fandango

Unbridled vested interests. Spreading mis-information to play for time. They can make profit in the process to boot.

Prolongs the despoilment of a pristine environment put's more money into the pockets of a greedy few.

Does bog all to reduce AGW. In fact will it will increase it by providing false hope.

Go Canadians, be proud of this and enjoy the fringe benefits.



What would be best way to go during the next 10 to 20 years:

1) progressively charge $400/tonne on all GHG emissions or/

2) progressively ban GHG emissions.

For example, if your vehicle produces about 8 tonnes of GHG a year and consumes about 2500 liter of fossil fuel a year you would eventually have to pay about $3200/year or $1.28/liter in GHG taxes. If applied over 10 years it would mean only $0.128/liter extra per year or half that rate if applied over 20 years.

Of course, well + transportation + refining GHG would also have to be added. That could be a lot for fossil fuels from tar sands but much less for other sources of liquid energy. Electric cars, when operated with wind-solar-hydro-nuclear and other clean e-energy sources would have a well deserved advantage.

In other words, a $400/tonnes progressive GHG tax could accellerate the transition to e-vehicles and cleaner sources of electricity. If done on a worldwide basis by 2030 we would all be better off. Worldwide application can come about by charging GHG taxes on all imported goods and services at the same or higher rates. No other form of import duties would be required.

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Resources paid to the clean up fund would be quickly passed on to the end users in Canada and more and more in USA as NG and Oil are exported. Some would call it a disguised carbon tax, if they wish.
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Shell hopes that CCS technology will reduce the emissions from carbon-intensive projects such as this Athabasca oil sands project. Too bad that CCS will do absolutely nothing for the water intensity of these projects, nor toxicity of that water afterwards.


Shell hopes that CCS technology will reduce the emissions from carbon-intensive projects such as this Athabasca oil sands project. Too bad that CCS will do absolutely nothing for the water intensity of these projects, nor toxicity of that water afterwards.

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