Cenovus Chief: Carbon Capture To Bring ‘Construction Boom’ In Alberta

Cenovus Chief: Carbon Capture To Bring 'Construction Boom' In Alberta - Carbon Herald
The headquarters of Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy, downtown Calgary. Image: Min C. Chiu/Shutterstock

Cenovus Energy, an oil and gas company headquartered in Alberta, said carbon capture and storage (CCS) will spur a construction boom in the oil-rich Canadian province. However, the firm’s CEO Alex Pourbaix said talks must continue with Ottawa and the provinces to offer stronger support for CCS technology, Yahoo Finance reported

Canada’s use of CCS is among the topics to be discussed during the federal government’s fall economic statement on Nov. 3. According to senior government officials, the update could provide details on how Canada will respond to the hundreds of billions in climate and energy spending promised in the U.S. 

Pourbaix said he is “not expecting anything earth-shattering” from Thursday’s government statement. 

According to Cenovus chief sustainability officer Rhonda DelFrari, however, CCS has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs from the construction of projects. 

“That will be a real next construction boom in Alberta,” DelFrari said on a conference call on Nov. 2. 

Last month, the Pathways Alliance announced a $24.1-billion carbon capture and storage project. The alliance, which includes Cenovus and five other major oil companies, has not yet made a final investment decision regarding the project. 

Relevant: Climate Bill Passes Senate — What’s In It And What Does It Do?

Pourbaix said the alliance is not in a position to execute, referring to unresolved decisions, including whether the province or the federal government has jurisdiction over environmental permits. 

Pourbaix pointed to the Inflation Reduction Act as an example of the carbon capture incentives in the United States. 

“Right now, in the U.S. are getting support both for capital investment and for operating costs,” he said. “I think there is more work to be done.”

Pourbaix said he acknowledges decarbonization of the industry is a complicated task.

“You could very significantly see both capital cost escalation, but also project delays,” he said. “There’s only a finite amount of craft labor and trades, and frankly procurement and other issues. We are very acutely aware of this challenge.”

Yesterday, Cenovus reported the company tripled its third-quarter net earnings in 2022 as compared to the Q3 results from the previous year. 

Read more: Canada Oilsands Group To Invest $16.5B In Carbon Capture Technology

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