Shell Canada plans large CCS project in Alberta
Shell Canada, the Canadian unit of Anglo-Dutch major Shell, said July 13 it would develop a second carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at its Scotford refinery near Edmonton that will have the capacity to store about 300mn mt of CO2 over the life of the project.
Building on the success of its C$1.35bn (US$1.08bn) Quest CCS project, which has stored more than 6mn mt of CO2 since it was launched in 2015, the new project, dubbed Polaris, will capture CO2 from Scotford’s hydrogen units and from the CO2 waste stream at an adjacent Shell-owned mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant, where it would be used to produce low-carbon chemicals – blue MEG – used in the production of consumer products.
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Phase 1 of Polaris would capture and store about 750,000 mt/yr of CO2 from the refinery and chemical plant and deliver it through a pipeline to storage wells about 12 km away, where it would be sequestered in the same Basal Cambrian Sands formation used by Quest. Phase 1 would reduce Shell’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by up to 40% from the refinery and 30% from the MEG plant and would create up to 2,000 jobs.
Phase 2 would involve the creation of a CO2 storage hub in Alberta, further decarbonising Shell’s own operations and providing storage capacity for third-party CO2 streams. Fully built, and contingent upon Shell acquiring sequestration leases from the province of Alberta, the hub would have the capacity to sequester up to 10mn mt/yr of CO2.
“Shell is making bold moves to decarbonise our operations, and wider industry, and the Polaris CCS project is the latest example,” said Susannah Pierce, Shell Canada’s president and country chair. “Our plans for Scotford are in line with Shell’s target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. We are creating a world-class site that will provide customers with lower-carbon fuels, products and CO2 storage. Polaris would also make a significant contribution to Shell’s aim to have access to an additional 25mn mt/yr of CCS capacity by 2035.”
Once fully built, Polaris will also contribute to the development of the Edmonton region as Canada’s first hydrogen hub. Phase 1 will produce blue hydrogen for use in Shell’s refining processes, with the potential for large-scale blue hydrogen production in future phases, Shell said. It is also exploring the development of additional volumes of blue and green hydrogen at Scotford that leverage Alberta’s abundant natural gas resources and the availability of renewable sources of power.
“Our government is committed to developing carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) to help reduce emissions and capitalise on emerging economic opportunities,” Alberta energy minister Sonya Savage said. “Projects like Shell’s Polaris CCS show that Alberta is open for business and our oil and gas industry confidently looks to be a global player in a low-carbon future.”
Pending a final investment decision in 2023, the initial phase of Polaris would be expected to be operational around the middle of the decade. Once the CCS component is operational, it would make Scotford the fifth energy and chemical park in Shell’s global portfolio, processing new feedstocks like bio-oils and waste oils to significantly reduce the CO2 emitted in the production of the fuels of today, it said.