Shell’s Quest Project, the first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project for an oil sands operation, will be starting up in 2015. The project will take more than one million tonnes of CO2 per year from the Scotford Upgrader and transport via a 65-kilometre pipeline to an injection location north of the Scotford Complex. Here, the CO2 will be stored permanently more than two kilometres underground beneath many thick layers of impermeable geological formations.
The Quest project is owned by the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), a joint venture among Shell Canada (60 per cent), Chevron Canada Limited (20 per cent) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20 per cent). The Government of Alberta has committed $745 million from its $2 billion CCS fund while the Government of Canada provided $120 million from its $650 million CCS fund.
Quest would be the first application of CCS technology for an oil sands upgrading operation. Not only will it allow the AOSP to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its oil sands operation in Alberta, but it will contribute to the global knowledge that will help to get other CCS projects up and running more quickly.
Shell views CCS as one of the key pathways to reducing CO2 emissions along with others such as energy efficiency and developing alternative energies. The appeal of CCS stems from the technical feasibility of implementing large-scale projects, thereby starting to address the emissions of the existing base of large CO2 emitters while developing the framework and infrastructure to support broader deployment of CCS technology and maturing parallel pathways
Finding ways to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one of the most important challenges facing society. CCS is the only technology available today to significantly mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from large-scale fossil fuel usage. According to the International Energy Agency CCS could account for about one-fifth of the total mitigation effort needed by 2050 if enough projects are started now.