Alberta – Canada’s main oil-producing province, announced on Thursday that it selected six proposals for carbon capture and storage hubs that could move forward with their development stages. They would become Canada’s first carbon storage hubs and will intend to help the industry cut its climate-warming emissions by permanently sequestering them underground.
The six proposed carbon capture hubs are all located near Alberta’s capital Edmonton and the Alberta Industrial Heartland (AIH) zone. It is home to a cluster of refineries, petrochemical and fertilizer plants.
The projects are presented by Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Shell (SHEL.L), Wolf Carbons Solutions, Bison Low Carbon Ventures, Enhance Energy and a joint-venture project from TC Energy (TRP.TO) and Pembina Pipeline Corp (PPL.TO).
The next step in their development is for the government to assess whether their proposed locations are suitable for storing carbon permanently. If approved, they will be awarded “pore space” rights that will allow them to inject carbon underground.
One requirement is also to provide open access to all carbon emitters in the AIH region. The province did not say how much it expects the projects to cost or what their capacity would be. However, Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has previously said that individual carbon capture and storage projects would cost around $801.3 million ($1 billion CAD) each.
It is clear from the government’s intentions that carbon capture is one of the technologies it is counting on for reducing greenhouse gasses. The IEA also estimates that carbon storage capacity needs to reach 7.6 billion tons on a global scale, up from around 40 million tons currently.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also released a road map recently that shows how Canada plans to meet its commitment to cut emissions 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan is calling for measures like more investments in zero-emission vehicles and related infrastructure as well as greening Canadian homes and buildings to be helping the country to achieve the targets.
Canada is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer so the country is experiencing pressure from scientists and the community to cut down effectively its carbon footprint. Carbon capture has been receiving some criticism for allowing continued oil and gas usage, however, the technology has been praised for being a necessary short/ medium-term solution for reducing emissions from hard-to-decarbonize industries that lack sustainable alternatives with the available technologies.