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    Canada’s Pembina, TC Energy, plan CCUS network

Summary

Alberta Carbon Grid could capture and store 2 trillion mt of carbon

by: Dale Lunan

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Canada’s Pembina, TC Energy, plan CCUS network

Canadian infrastructure companies Pembina Pipeline and TC Energy said June 17 they would develop a carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS) network in Alberta capable of capturing, moving and storing as much as 20mn mt/yr of CO2.

The open access Alberta Carbon Grid (ACG), as the project is known, will leverage existing pipelines and a newly-developed sequestration hub northeast of Edmonton to give carbon emitters in the oil sands region around Fort McMurray, in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland near Edmonton and in west central Alberta access to key sequestration locations and delivery points across the province.

"Our government is committed to the development of the emerging CCUS industry in our province,” Alberta energy minister Sonya Savage said. “Our province’s energy industry is vital to achieving Canada’s GHG reduction goals and Alberta companies are global leaders in reducing emissions. By working together to bring forward world-class solutions, innovative companies like Pembina and TC Energy are leading the way to our lower carbon future.”

ACG is designed to connect Alberta’s largest sources of industrial emissions to a sequestration location northeast of Redwater, in a Basal Cambrian sands formation that is capable of sequestering as much as 2 trillion mt of CO2. Permit applications have been prepared and Pembina and TC Energy are working with the government of Alberta to secure sequestration rights in the formation.

The grid will also provide for the delivery of CO2 to third-party sequestration locations, the companies said, supporting the development of a strategically-located carbon storage hub in the Fort Saskatchewan region, just northeast of Edmonton.

“It is innovative partnerships like this that excite me about our collective energy future,” TC Energy CEO Francois Poirier said. “Industry players collaborating to leverage our existing energy infrastructure and expertise to support meaningful emission reductions and reduce our carbon footprint is a great example of how we can secure meaningful new investment opportunities, serve current and future customers and achieve operational excellence while continuing to safely and responsibly deliver the energy people need.”

The initial build-out of the ACG will incorporate three principal legs: the North Leg, which will be designed to capture up to 40,000 mt/day of CO2 from oil sands operations; the Central Leg, designed to capture 10,000-20,000 mt/day of CO2 from emitters in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland; and the Southwest Leg, which would be designed to capture 10,000-20,000 mt/day of CO2 from power generation facilities in the region.

Development of all three legs will involve retrofits to existing pipeline systems and newbuild expansions and laterals. Future legs could extend the grid to other emission sources in the province, possibly at Joffre in central Alberta, at Christina Lake and Cold Lake in the northeast part of the province and in the Swan Hills area in the northwest.

Pending the close of Pembina’s proposed acquisition of Inter Pipeline, the partners are targeting the first phase of the ACG to be operational as early as 2025, with the fully-scaled project complete as early as 2027, subject to regulatory and environmental approvals.

The full build-out of the ACG over time, the companies said, represents the potential for a “multi-billion-dollar incremental investment” for Pembina and TC Energy, sustained by a commercial framework comprised of long-term fee-for-service contracts and a marketing and trading pool to facilitate CO2 and carbon-offset transactions. At the proposed scale, and by repurposing existing infrastructure, the tolls on the ACG will be “materially less” than the current price of carbon in Alberta, ensuring the long-term competitive viability of the grid, the companies said.

“Carbon capture, utilisation and storage will lower emissions, create jobs, and increase our competitiveness,” federal energy minister Seamus O'Regan said. “Congratulations to Pembina and TC Energy for coming together with an integrated CO2 transportation and storage infrastructure solution to lower emissions in Alberta. This is how we get to net-zero.”