Shell marked the official opening of the Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta, Canada, and the start of commercial operations there. Quest is designed to capture and safely store more than one million tonnes of CO2 each year—equal to the emissions from about 250,000 cars. Quest was made possible through strong collaboration between the public and private sectors aimed at advancing CCS globally.
Using activated amine (ADIP-X), Quest will capture one-third of the CO2 emissions from Shell’s Scotford Upgrader, which turns oil sands bitumen into synthetic crude that can be refined into fuel and other products. The CO2 is a byproduct of the production of hydrogen, which is used to upgrade the bitumen.
The CO2 is then transported through a 65-kilometer pipeline and injected more than two kilometers underground below multiple layers of impermeable rock formations.
Te Storage zone is a formation called Basal Cambrian Sands (BCS). It features multiple caprock and salt seal layers. No significant faulting is visible from wells or seismic analysis. The BCS is well below hydrocarbon-bearing formations and potable water zones in the region.
Quest is now operating at commercial scale after successful testing earlier this year, during which it captured and stored more than 200,000 tonnes of CO2.
Quest has a robust measurement, monitoring and verification program agreed upon with the government and verified by a third party (Det Norske Veritas (DNV)).
Quest was built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project joint-venture owners Shell Canada Energy (60%), Chevron Canada Limited (20%) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20%), and was made possible through strong support from the governments of Alberta and Canada who provided C$865 million in funding. The governments of Alberta and Canada contributed C$745 million and C$120 million respectively to Quest.
As part of its funding arrangements, Shell is publicly sharing information on Quest’s design and processes to further global adoption of CCS. Quest draws on techniques used by the energy industry for decades and integrates the components of CCS for the large-scale capture, transport and storage of CO2.
Collaboration is continuing through Quest between Shell and various parties in an effort to bring down costs of future CCS projects globally. This includes cooperation with the United States Department of Energy, and the British government on research at the Quest site.
Support from the local community was essential to building Quest, Shell noted. Shell initiated public consultation in 2008, two years before submitting a regulatory application.
Public consultation was developed in collaboration with the Pembina Institute, a Canadian think tank focused on energy issues. A community advisory panel of local leaders and residents will regularly review results from Quest’s monitoring program.
Shell and the United States Department of Energy will field-test advanced monitoring technologies alongside the state-of-the-art, comprehensive monitoring program already in place for Quest.
Shell is involved in a slate of CCS projects worldwide. The proposed Peterhead CCS project in the United Kingdom, currently in the design stage, is part of the UK Government’s CCS Commercialisation Programme (subject to investor approval and the securing of relevant permits).
Shell is also a partner in the Chevron-led Gorgon project in Australia and has a share in the Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) in Norway.
CCS technology developed by Shell subsidiary Cansolv is in use at the commercial-scale Boundary Dam CCS project in Saskatchewan, Canada, which opened in 2014.