The largest near-term focus is on its proposed carbon capture and storage (CCS) project. Significant engineering, subsurface evaluation and environmental field work has been completed in preparation for imminent regulatory applications.
When complete, the CCS project proposed by Canada’s six largest oil sands companies would be one of the world’s largest CCS networks and play an essential role in helping Alberta and Canada progress their net zero ambitions.
“We’re taking all the steps needed to ensure this project is ready to go once we have the critical regulatory policies and co-investment commitments from governments that are necessary for our sector to remain cost competitive with other oil-producing regions around the world while we reduce emissions,” said Pathways Alliance President Kendall Dilling.
The proposed CCS network includes a transportation line with capacity to carry carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from multiple oil sands facilities to a hub in the Cold Lake region of Alberta for safe and permanent underground storage. This CCS network could reduce net CO2 emissions from oil sands operations by approximately 10 to 12 million tonnes annually by 2030 and as much as 40 million tonnes per year by 2050.
The first phase of the proposed Pathways Alliance plan calls for more than a $24 billion investment before 2030. Of the $24 billion, approximately $16.5 billion, will support the proposed CCS network. The remaining $7.6 billion investment is earmarked for other major emissions reduction projects and technologies.
The next steps build on more than $1.8 billion already spent by Pathways Alliance members on phase one projects. This includes:
- cogeneration to replace higher-emitting fuels used to produce electricity and steam;
- more efficient in situ oil sands recovery technologies;
- research and development of more than 50 emissions abatement technology projects, such as advanced carbon capture and storage studies and testing, steam reduction and solvent demonstration projects, lower emission fuel switching trials, and small modular reactor feasibility studies; and
- early work on the foundational CCS project, including engineering, feasibility studies and environmental field work.
Emissions reduction investments continue to be made with the bulk spend for construction of the total CCS project later this decade subject to completion of Indigenous consultation, regulatory review and decisions, and final investment decisions.
“The emissions reduction efforts of Pathways Alliance members, working together with governments, will help ensure the oil sands sector can continue to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada, tens of billions of dollars in annual revenues for governments and the energy security needed for Canada and globally for decades to come,” said Dilling.
For background details on progress to date plus news on advancements of other emissions reduction technologies, please do refer to the official Pathways Alliance news release.
image shows Suncor’s Edmonton Refinery landscape. Located in Edmonton, Alberta and with a capacity of 142,000 barrels per day, the refinery runs entirely on oil sands-based feedstocks and produces a high yield of light oils. Courtesy Suncor.