Alberta Carbon Trunk Line - International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) has reached a major milestone with 1 million tonnes of captured carbon dioxide (CO2) in its first 9 months of operation. The $1.2 billion, 240-kilometre (km) long pipeline system came online on June 2nd, 2020, collecting CO2 from the North West Redwater Sturgeon Refinery and the Nutrien Fertilizer Plant ever since.
With the world’s largest capacity for this type of system, the ACTL pipeline is capable of transporting up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 each year from emission sources to mature oil fields in Central Alberta to be used in enhanced oil recovery methods (EOR) before being stored permanently underground.
“There’s no question that the world is moving toward a more sustainable path,” said Kevin Jabusch, President and CEO of Enhance Energy which was the founding company of the ACTL project more than a decade ago. Today, the carbon capture and storage pipeline is owned and operated by Wolf Midstream.
“We can continue to produce the energy we need to power our homes, our vehicles, and the economy, and we can do it in a less carbon-intensive way. We are sequestering CO2 and we are using it to help produce some of the lowest cost, lowest carbon energy on the planet. All Albertans can be proud of this work,” said Jabusch.
The Sturgeon Refinery - ACTL’s main source of CO2 - also opened in June of 2020 and is the world’s first heavy oil refinery built from the ground up with a carbon capture and storage system embedded into its design. The ACTL’s relationship with the Sturgeon Refinery is a great example of Canada’s global leadership when it comes to sustainable natural resource extraction and production. Also see:
- Carbon Capture & Storage in Canadian Agriculture
- Carbon Capture & Storage in Canada's Oil & Gas Sector
- Carbon Capture & Storage in Canada's Forestry Sector
The World Needs More Carbon Capture
CCS Facilities at Various Stages of Development - Global CCS Institute
According to a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in September of 2020, the world will need to build up its arsenal of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) facilities if it wants to effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help fight global warming.
“The scale of the climate challenge means we need to act across a wide range of energy technologies. Carbon capture is critical for ensuring our transitions to clean energy are secure and sustainable,” said Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA.
Erna Solberg - Norway’s Prime Minister who supports both the oil and gas industry and climate action - echoed Birol’s message, stating that in order to utilize carbon capture and storage as a technology for the future, the world will need “…solutions and facilities in many regions and countries. CCUS will be necessary on a global scale… and we must start now.”
Canadian governments are also aware of the impact that CCUS can have on the fight against climate change.
“The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line illustrates the real-world potential of carbon capture utilization and storage projects, while reducing industry’s carbon footprint,” said Sonya Savage, Alberta’s Minister of Energy.
Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta believes in CCUS and its application in helping industry reduce emissions. “The Government of Canada has committed to very ambitious emissions reduction targets, and it's our view that there's no feasible way for Canada to achieve those targets within the stated timelines, without a widespread application of game-changing technology like CCUS,” he said.
Canada is a Global Leader in CCUS
Weyburn CCS Unit, Whitecap Resources - Brian Zinchuk
Canada is already a global leader when it comes to CCUS. Today there are a number of projects operating in Western Canada, including:
- Alberta Carbon Trunk Line with Sturgeon Refinery
- Alberta Carbon Trunk Line with Nutrien Fertilizer Plant
- Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage
- Great Plains Synfuel Plant and Weyburn-Midale
- Husky Energy Lashbum and Tangleflags CO2 Injection Project
- Inventys and Husky Energy VeloxoTherm Capture Process Test
- Shell Quest CCS
In total, Canada’s facilities capture roughly 7 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of CO2 each and every year.
According to a report released by the Global CCS Institute, there were more than 65 commercial sized facilities planned or underway around the globe at the end of 2020.
"There is also increasing recognition that meeting net-zero emissions targets without CCS is going to be extremely challenging if not outright impossible," said Guloren Turan, General Manager for Advocacy and Communications with the Global CCS Institute.
The institute's report highlighted that 26 CCS facilities are currently capturing 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Canada, with about 0.5 per cent of the world’s population, accounted for nearly 18 per cent of global carbon capture at the end of 2020 - now that's leadership!
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Canadian energy companies are currently operating all the commercially sized carbon capture, utilization and storage projects in Canada. Over the past few decades, these same companies have been steadfast in their goal to reduce emission intensities and the overall impact their operations have on the environment.
As one of the most transparent, regulated and environmentally conscious energy producers in the world, Canada should be a global supplier of choice for decades to come.
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