Carbon Capture in Canada's Energy Sector is a Model for the World

canadian oil and gas carbon capture model for world cover photo v2

Did you know that Canada is a global leader in the deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) -- so much in fact, that our sector is an ideal model for the world?!

Canada's four existing projects account for 15 per cent of major global facilities, with a combined capacity to capture several million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. And with many more projects planned through 2030, Canada's global CCUS leadership will only continue to grow in the future.

Canada's current share of global carbon capture capacity has largely been made possible by the efforts of its energy producers. Dedicated to improving environmental outcomes, these operators have utilized CCUS to reduce emissions in a world that is ever increasingly focussed on environmental outcomes. Meanwhile, global demand for energy products such as oil and gas is projected to continue growing for decades yet.

Will the world make the right choice, and choose sustainable producers like Canada for its future energy needs?

Here are several facts showing how Canada's energy sector is a global leader in CCUS and why the sector's continued development is a good thing for Canadian families and the global environment. Also see:

A Big Year for Canadian CCUS

Cenovus SAGD - Oil Sands Pathways to Net-Zero Initiative

SAGD Oilsands Operation

The abundance of CCUS-related events throughout 2021 is direct evidence of Canada's continued efforts to reduce environmental impacts and emerge as a global energy supplier of choice:

I. - In June of last year, Canada's top five oilsands producers announced the Pathway to Net Zero by 2050 Initiative that will include the construction of new carbon capture hubs in Cold Lake and Fort McMurray.

II. - A week later, two major pipeline operators announced the Alberta Carbon Grid, a network of pipelines that would transfer CO2 in between points of emission and sequestration.

III. - In Atlantic Canada, another joint initiative to pursue decarbonization opportunities was also announced by two energy majors last year, which includes a new carbon capture and storage network.

IV. - In April, the federal government also announced its investment tax credits for CCUS projects.

Today, several more projects are proposed or underway that will add to Canada's already world-leading carbon capture capacity.

Planned Carbon Capture Projects

i love canadian oilsands 2

Canada's carbon capture leadership is made abundantly clear by the number of planned CCUS projects in Alberta, Canada's largest oil and gas producing province. In total, these projects represent tens of millions of tonnes of additional carbon capture and storage capacity!

#1 - Oilsands Pathway to Net Zero

• Capacity: 40 million metric tons per year
• Completion: 2050

The Oilsands Pathway to Net Zero by 2050 is a joint initiative by major oil sands operators who plan to collect carbon dioxide from 20 locations as part of their efforts to eliminate 68 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) by 2050.

#2 - Alberta Carbon Grid

• Capacity: 20 million tons per year
• Completion: 2027

The Alberta Carbon Grid is expected to be able to store a total of 2 billion tons of CO2 in total and is expected to be up and running by 2027.

#3 - Polaris Project

• Capacity: 10 million tons per year
• Completion: TBA

The Polaris Project is a new initiative that would expand on Alberta's current Quest facility and take in CO2 from various third-party industrial emitters around the province.

#4 - Carbon Neutral Alberta

• Capacity: 3 million tons per year
• Completion: TBA

A joint project by two energy companies in Alberta would draw CO2 from a participants' power plant and also allow access to other third-party emitters.

#5 - Hydrogen CCUS Project

• Capacity: 2 million tons per year
• Completion: TBA

Two energy companies in Alberta plan to build a hydrogen facility with 300,000 tons of capacity, where they would capture their own CO2 emissions and open sequestration capacity to third parties.

#6 - Treaty Six Project

• Capacity: Unknown
• Completion: TBA

Members of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations have submitted an application to locate and develop a carbon-capture hub on their traditional territories.

#7 - Concrete CO2 Capture & Storage

• Capacity: 780,000 tonnes per year
• Completion: TBA

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by a pipeline operator and concrete producer in Alberta that will help capture up to 780,000 tonnes of CO2 at one of the participant's plants in Edmonton.


CarbonCure Technologies

CarbonCure Technologies, Nova Scotia

Another example of Canada's global leadership in CCUS innovation is its participation in XPRIZE. Canada's Oilsands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), in conjunction with U.S. co-title sponsor NRG, announced the launch of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE in 2015.

The US$20 million five-year global competition was initiated to develop breakthrough technologies that will convert CO2 emissions from major emitters into valuable products such as alternative fuels, building materials and other everyday items.

In April 2021, CarbonCure Technologies of Nova Scotia was named one of two winners of the XPRIZE. CarbonCure demonstrated a technology that allowed the production of concrete with a reduced carbon and water footprint without sacrificing the material's integrity.

COSIA's sponsorship of the competition was funded by several of Canada's largest oilsands producers, a testament to their leadership in the advancement of global cleantech and innovation.

COSIA is a unique alliance rarely seen between competing companies across the globe, where oil sands producers come together to focus on improving environmental performance through collaboration and innovation. COSIA members account for over 90 per cent of oil sands production.

Today, Canada's oil and gas sector is the largest spender on clean technology in the country, accounting for around 75 per cent of all investments made each year.

Largest CCUS Pipeline System

Alberta Carbon Trunk Line ACTL - Carbon Sequestration in Canada

Alberta Carbon Trunk Line

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) is the largest system of its kind in the world, able to transport up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 each year from emission sources to be used in enhanced oil recovery methods (EOR) before being stored permanently underground.

The $1.2 billion, 240-kilometre long pipeline system began operating in June of 2020, collecting CO2 from the Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien Fertilizer Plant in Alberta.

The ACTL joins a lengthy list of operating CCUS projects in Western Canada, including:

> Alberta Carbon Trunk Line with Sturgeon Refinery

> Alberta Carbon Trunk Line with Nutrien Fertilizer Plant

> Saskatchewan's 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

Canada's current CCUS facilities capture around 7 million tonnes of CO2 annually. To add, with just 0.5 per cent of the world's population, our nation accounts for 15 per cent of major global CCUS projects -- now that's leadership!

Canada's Emissions Reductions

oil sands emissions intensities up to 35% lower than previously reported

Canadian oil and gas producers are doing a lot more than just implementing CCUS methods to improve their emission profiles, as shown by the following facts:

> Since 1995, Canada's oilsands emissions intensity average decreased by 44 per cent (BMO)

> Since 2013, reported intensity among oilsands companies dropped 23 per cent versus 13 per cent for global majors (BMO)

> With GHG intensities down by roughly 24 per cent since 2012, Canada's oilsands now emit just 4 to 5 per cent more than the global average on a well-to-wheels basis; several newer projects already boast below-average carbon footprints (BMO)

> Average oil sands GHG intensity could improve another 20 to 30 per cent with the application of planned innovations (BMO)

> The emissions intensity of the oil sands is projected to improve another 16 to 23 per cent by 2030 (IHS Markit)

> Canada's major oilsands producers have made an unprecedented pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050 (COSIA)

> Flaring / venting emissions associated with Canadian crude oil and oilsands operations has dropped by 68 per cent since 1996 (BMO)

> If the rest of the world followed minimal Canadian flaring standards, total GHG emissions from every barrel produced would drop by 23 per cent – equivalent to removing 100 million cars off the road (Cenovus, Study: Journal Science)

> Alberta, accounting for roughly 80 per cent of Canada's oil production, is one of the few global oil jurisdictions with mandatory disclosures, regulated emissions protocols and carbon taxes on excess GHGs (BMO)

> In 2007, Alberta was the first jurisdiction in North America and one of the first in the world just behind the European Union to take climate action with mandatory GHG emission reduction targets for large industrial emitters (BMO)

Why Carbon Capture Matters

carbon capture in canada facts

The reality is that strong global demand for oil and gas persists today despite the turmoil seen in global energy markets throughout 2020-21. Meanwhile, the latest future demand projections see global oil and gas consumption continuing to grow for decades yet.

In a world increasingly focussed on environmental outcomes, future supply should come from the most sustainable producers around – producers like Canada that are investing heavily into emissions reductions, water use reductions, and gas flaring reductions to help improve environmental performance.

Canada's leadership in the deployment of CCUS innovation and technology means that our nation should be a global supplier of choice for the world's future energy needs. The development of Canada's CCUS sector also presents new job opportunities for countless communities across energy-producing provinces that have been hit hard over the past several years.

Supporting CCUS = New Jobs

Carbon Capture Canada Banner

The truth is that Alberta's energy sector has been given a bad rap, but it's not fair, it's not reality, so we have to keep working hard to bring investment back into the energy sector.

Canada's global CCUS leadership means the potential for more investment into our communities which equates to more long-term, well-paying jobs for Canadians.

By supporting Canada's carbon capture and storage sector, you support bringing back investment and jobs to the hard-working Canadians who need it the most.

Will you join us?! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to learn more about how Canadian families stand to benefit from supporting the continued development of a strong CCUS sector today!

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