The Canadian oil sands receive a lot of criticism due to the fact that they are far more polluting than other sources of oil. The very dense hydrocarbons of the oil sands must be partly refined before its viscosity is low enough to allow it to flow through pipelines. The refining process requires a lot of heat which is produced by burning vast amounts of natural gas.
Shell, Chevron, and Marathon Oil have now announced that they will build a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project at their 225,000 barrel a day Athabasca Project. The Quest CCS project will be completed in 2015 and capture 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The CO2 will be transported about 50 miles north of the oil sands project and injected 1.2 miles underground between layers of impermeable rock. The CCS project will reduce the emissions of producing the oil sands by 35%.
The cost of the project is estimated to be in the region of $1.4 billion, half of which will be provided by the government of Alberta who is looking to invest in CCS technology as a way of achieving its target of cutting CO2 by 17% below 2005 levels before the end of the decade.
Joe Oliver, Canada’s energy minister, said that the “government is committed to exploring and demonstrating CCS technology as a critical opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment.”
The Quest project is the first CCS project that Shell has undertaken, and will be the flagship at the centre of its global CCS research. Chevron however, already has another such project under construction in Australia which will deal with 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…