The recently announced Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in northern Alberta will be the first for an oil sands operation in Canada. Quest will be built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project joint venture owners, Shell, Chevron and Marathon Oil and with support from the governments of Canada and Alberta.
Commenting on the announcement, Royal Dutch Shell plc CEO Peter Voser said CCS is critical to meeting the huge projected increase in global energy demand while reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
“If you want to achieve climate change goals, CCS has to be part of the solution. We are helping to advance CCS technology on a number of fronts around the world, but Quest will be our flagship project,” said Mr. Voser.
Alberta’s oil sands are considered to be a secure, reliable source of energy and an economic engine that drives employment, training and business development across Canada and beyond.
“We will need all sources of energy to meet world demand in the coming decades,” added Mr. Voser. “Lower CO2 energy sources will grow, but even by 2050, at least 65 per cent of our energy will still come from fossil fuels. So CCS will be important to manage climate impacts.”
The Athabasca Oil Sands Project produces bitumen, which is piped to Shell’s Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton. From late 2015, Quest will capture and store deep underground more than one million tonnes a year of CO2 produced in bitumen processing. Quest will reduce direct emissions from the Scotford Upgrader by up to 35 per cent – the equivalent of taking 175,000 North American cars off the road annually.
“Quest is important because it is a fully integrated project that will demonstrate existing capture, transportation, injection and storage technologies working together for the safe and permanent storage of CO2."
Shell executive vice president of heavy oil, John Abbott, says Quest is another example of how the company is using technology and innovation to improve the environmental performance of its oil sands operations.
“The opportunity Quest provides to reduce emissions from our upgrading activities is an important achievement in itself, but the project’s technical and strategic value reaches beyond the emissions it will capture.
“Quest is important because it is a fully integrated project that will demonstrate existing capture, transportation, injection and storage technologies working together for the safe and permanent storage of CO2. The knowledge it provides will help to enable much wider and more cost-effective application of CCS through the energy industry and other sectors in years to come,” says Mr. Abbott.
The Alberta government will invest $745 million in Quest from a $2-billion fund to support CCS, while the Government of Canada will invest $120 million through its Clean Energy Fund.