Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Petro-Canada's Edmonton Refinery and Distribution Centre glows at dusk on Feb. 15, 2009.

Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Canada risks falling behind as a leader in carbon capture if Ottawa doesn’t make significant strides to increase investment in the emissions-lowering technology.

On Monday, the province and Ottawa announced a joint working group that will develop a carbon capture strategy to expand use of the technology in the oil sector. It came as The Globe and Mail reported Alberta’s intention to seek $30-billion in federal spending or tax incentives over the next decade to spur the building of large-scale industrial carbon capture projects.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage - or CCUS - projects are facilities that force CO2 emissions deep into the ground to keep them out of the atmosphere. Along with oil production, it can be used in other major industrial sectors such as power generation, and manufacturing chemicals, fertilizer and cement.

Story continues below advertisement

While Alberta’s United Conservative Party government has often clashed with the federal Liberals over climate and energy policy, industrial emission reduction is an area where they appear to agree.

That shared interest in CCUS was underscored by Monday’s announcement, with Mr. Kenney saying that Ottawa has been receptive to Alberta’s ask of a cash injection for CCUS. The need for a carbon capture strategy is outlined in the federal government’s climate plan, and Mr. Kenney said Ottawa recognizes they need those investments “if they have any hope, realistically, of achieving their emissions targets.”

He also pointed to a CCUS tax credit in the United States as a potential model Canada could adopt to encourage the construction of more projects.

“Where we were a global leader, we’re at risk of falling behind if we don’t up our game,” he said.

A group of 47 environmental, health and human-rights organizations penned a letter to the federal government Monday opposing subsides or any tax credits for CCUS, arguing the technology actually increases oil production, thus increasing the total output of CO2.

That might make business sense for the oil industry, they say, but “it is not a winning strategy for the climate.”

Major players in Alberta’s oil sands have used CCUS for decades. One example is the $1.3-billion Quest facility attached to the Scotford upgrader outside Edmonton.

Story continues below advertisement

The project captures CO2 produced when refining crude from the Athabasca oil sands project, 70 per cent owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Carbon dioxide is then injected about two kilometres below the earth’s surface for permanent storage.

Quest, which received $865-million from the federal and Alberta governments to help fund its construction, is designed to capture up to 1.08 million tonnes of CO2 a year, or about 35 per cent of what’s produced by the upgrader.

In 2020, Quest surpassed five million tonnes in carbon captured since it began commercial operations in 2015. The company says that’s about the same as the annual emissions from one million cars.

Canadian Natural president Tim McKay told The Globe CCUS technology will be key in the energy sector’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint, particularly in the oil sands where long production lives means facilities will remain in operation for decades to come.

Once projects are built, he said, companies can also expand them or allow other producers, or even companies in different sectors, to use the facilities to store the CO2 they produce.

And as companies get more CCUS experience under their belts, he said that helps them “feel more comfortable with carbon capture and storage long-term.”

Story continues below advertisement

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said Monday that breadth of experience with CCUS, along with the province’s unique geology which allows carbon to be stored underground, means Alberta is well positioned to lead the carbon capture sector.

Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, told an oil and gas conference this month that CCUS technology will play a key role in reducing emissions in the oil sector, and in the development of blue hydrogen – a low-emission fuel derived from natural gas, which the government has recognized as crucial to Canada’s net-zero 2050 goal.

“Carbon capture technology creates jobs, lowers emissions and increases our competitiveness. It’s how we get to net zero,” he said in a statement about the new steering group Monday.

The cost of carbon capture has decreased significantly in recent years, according to the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based organization that advises industrialized countries on energy issues.

It says CCUS technology has been the subject of renewed global interest and attention, and will play a key role in the net-zero 2050 commitments that cover 20 per cent of global oil and gas production.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies