Shell Canadian carbon capture project begins
Washington, 6 November (Argus) — Shell has started commercial operations at its Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta, Canada.
Quest is the world’s first commercial-scale CCS project to tackle carbon emissions from an oil sands development. It will capture and store underground over 1mn t/yr of CO2 produced during bitumen processing at the 60pc Shell-owned Athabasca oil sands project.
The bitumen produced by the Athabasca oil sands project is piped to Shell’s Scotford uggrader for processing into synthetic crude. Quest will capture one-third of the CO2 emissions from the upgrader and transport it through a 65km pipeline for injection more than 2km underground “below multiple layers of impermeable rock formations”, Shell said.
“Quest is now operating at commercial scale after successful testing earlier this year, during which it captured and stored more than 200,000t of CO2 ,” the firm said.
Oil producers have decades of experience capturing and injecting CO2 into depleted reservoirs for enhanced oil recovery. The Quest project in contrast is storing CO2 in a saline aquifer, which have the potential to store decades or hundreds of years of CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. They often require significant government support, however, because they tend to provide little financial benefit for project developers.
Quest has required heavy funding commitments from provincial and federal governments in Canada to get it off the ground. Shell estimated back in 2012 that the cost of building the project and operating it for 10 years would be C$1.35bn ($1bn). Canada’s federal government and the provincial government in Alberta have contributed C$865mn ($650mn) towards that. The rest will be met by Shell and its partners in the Athabasca oil sands project — Chevron and US firm Marathon Oil.