Imperial Oil Ltd. is pledging to cut its oil sands greenhouse gas emissions per barrel by 10 per cent over the next five years as it ramps up production and works to get in line with increasingly stringent environmental regulation.
CEO Rich Kruger says the company will achieve the improvement compared with 2016 by employing new technologies at its legacy Cold Lake oil sands wells, by reaching the full 220,000-barrels-per-day capacity of its Kearl oil sands mining project and through other incremental efficiencies.
He says further improvements could come if its proposed 75,000-bpd, $2.4-billion Aspen oilsands project gets regulatory approval, expected by year-end, and is sanctioned by the company for construction.
Following a media tour of the company’s research centre in southeast Calgary, Kruger says Imperial will use solvents to reduce by as much as 25 per cent the amount of steam needed to make heavy sticky bitumen flow from horizontal wells at Aspen.
The Alberta Energy Regulator is considering holding a public hearing on the project after inviting interveners to register, possibly extending an application process that began in 2013.
At Cold Lake, Imperial is proposing to expand the use of its cyclic solvent process to almost eliminate the use of steam and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 per cent in parts of the oilfield.
“In a world that prices carbon, and has escalating prices for carbon in the future, actions like this will indeed make us more competitive,” Kruger said.
He said the goals are good for business but acknowledged they will also help Imperial adjust to proposed federal clean fuel standards designed to achieve reductions in GHG emissions by 2030.