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Carbon Sequestration Projects in Canada

Carbon capture and sequestration is the main building block of carbon neutral development in oil and gas and a host of other industries. Underground sequestration is a growing industry, spurred by operator efforts towards net zero and government incentives for decarbonization.

With 3 sizable projects operational, Canada captures and stores about 3,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, a small fraction of the 750,000,000 tonnes emitted yearly. In order to significantly impact emissions, carbon sequestration hubs need to be researched, planned, built, operated and monitored, through a collaborative effort between emitters, governments, service providers and technology companies.

Sequestration targets in WCSB

Carbon dioxide is ideally stored at supercritical state in formations that are deep, porous and are not charged with hydrocarbons.

Basal Cambrian wells in Western Canada

The Basal Cambrian Sandstone is a preferred injection target in Eastern Alberta. It has ample storage capacity with good porosity and permeability in most areas. Deposited before the accumulation of significant hydrocarbon source rocks, it is found below oil and gas pools in the southern half of Alberta, at depths of 1,000 to 3,500 meters.

Devonian Carbonate build-ups and Leduc penetrations

Devonian carbonates are developed in the subsurface of Central and Northern Alberta, with many geological formations producing large quantities of oil over the years. Many of the reefs and platforms are depleted and are currently flooded with brine. Several proposed sequestration projects target the Winterburn (Nisku Formation), Wabamun and Woodbend Group (Leduc Formation) carbonates.

The government of Alberta invested over 200 million in CCUS projects through Alberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta. Over 100 CCUS technologies and projects benefited from these grants, including Carbon Capture Kickstart and Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre.

The Government of British Columbia passed the Energy Statutes Amendment Act in 2022, to clarify the regulatory framework for CCUS in B.C., including the tenure required for CCUS projects.

Technology

A few companies in Western Canada advance technologies and workflows aimed specifically at carbon capture and sequestration projects

  • Carbon Alpha
    Offers subsurface and turnkey solutions for bespoke carbon sequestration projects
  • Carbon Management Canada
    Offers industrial solutions for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS)
  • Enhance Energy
    Operates CO2 injection projects in Central Alberta aimed at enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
  • Entropy
    A subsidiary of Advantage Oil and Gas; operates pre-combustion capture and sequestration at Advantage Glacier plant; offers full-cycle CCUS evaluation and development services
  • Svante
    Offers carbon capture technologies and solutions
  • Vault 40.01
    Offers CCUS project development and execution solutions in Canada and USA, with engineering, geological, monitoring and project management services;
Evaluation leases with clastic (yellow) and carbonate (magenta) sequestration targets

Ongoing Projects

A few Canadian projects are successfully injecting CO2 in geological formations

  1. Alberta Carbon Trunk
    • Operator: Wolf Midstream (pipeline), Enhance Energy (storage)
    • Geological Formation: Leduc, other
    • Capture: Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien Redwater fertilizer plant
    • Location: Capture in the Edmonton Industrial Heartland, transport via 240km pipeline to Clive oil field in Central Alberta
    • Operating since: 2020
    • Capacity: 14,000,000 tons CO2 per year (pipeline capacity), injecting 1,240,000 t/year as of 2021
    • Remarks: several carbon sequestration projects are proposed along the route in addition to currently operating EOR injection
  2. Boundary Dam
    • Geological Formations: Deadwood sandstone, Weyburn Unit (Torquay, Bakken)
    • Capture: SaskPower Boundary Dam coal fired power plantOperating since: 2014
    • Capacity: 1,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Remarks: Capturing CO2 emissions from Boundary Dam power plant (the largest coal fired power plant in Saskatchewan), pipeline and injection into the Weyburn unit was operated by Cenovus until 2017, when the asset was sold to Whitecap Resources. Other emitters, such as Dakota Gasification Company, Co-op Refinery and Co-op Ethanol Complex, supply CO2 to Whitecap. An average of 1,700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year are injected in hydrocarbon bearing formations since 2000.
  3. Glacier
    • Operator: Advantage Oil and Gas and Entropy Inc
    • Geological Formation: Baldonnel
    • Capture: Pre-combustion and post-combustion capture from gas fired compressor engines
    • Operating since: July 2022
    • Capacity: 200,000 tons CO2 per year (by 2025), 47,000 t/year injected as of 2022
    • Location: West of Grande Prairie, Glacier oil field
    • Remarks: Modular approach, with potential for scaling up
    • Update July 2024: Glacier Phase 2 receives positive FID, for storing 160,000 tons of CO2 per year from capture at gas power plant.
  4. QuestCCS
    • Operator: Shell Canada
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: at Scotford upgrader
    • Operating since: 2015
    • Location: North of Edmonton
    • Capacity: 1,080,000 tons CO2 per year; injecting 1,040,000 t/year as of 2021
    • Lease area: 362,496 hectares (39 townships)

Proposed projects in Alberta

Alberta CCUS License Agreements (green) and Evaluation Permits (red)

Following the release of a Regulatory Framework Assessment in 2011, Alberta is allocating carbon sequestration rights through a competitive process. The Alberta Energy Regulator granted several evaluation permits and agreements for CCUS development. Successful proponents can subsequently apply for sequestration agreements.

Round 1 (March 2022)

Six evaluations agreements were awarded by the Government of Alberta in March of 2022, as part of the Carbon Sequestration Tenure Management process. The projects are focused on capturing and storing CO2 from the Industrial Heartland emitters around Edmonton.

  1. Alberta Carbon Grid
    • Proponent: Pembina Pipeline and TC Energy
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: from emitters in the Alberta Industrial Heatland (Edmonton area)
    • Proposed capacity: 10,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 950,720 hectares (102 townships)
    • Location: North of Edmonton, in Westlock County
  2. Atlas Sequestration Hub
    • Proponent: Shell Canada (Polaris carbon capture project), ATCO and Suncor
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: Open hub, with main contributions from Shell’s Scotford upgrader and a proposed ATCO-Suncor blue hydrogen development project by the Suncor Edmonton Refinery
    • Proposed capacity: up to 10,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 1,031,232 hectares (111 townships)
    • Location: East of Edmonton, in Strathcona County
    • Update June 2024: Shell and ATCO reached positive final investment decision
    • Update July 2024: Converted from evaluation permit to sequestration agreement
  3. Meadowbrook Hub
    • Proponent: Bison Low Carbon
    • Geological formation: Woodbend Group (Leduc, Cooking Lake Formations)
    • Proposed capacity: 3,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 70,400 hectares (8 townships)
    • Location: North of Edmonton, near Morinville, Alberta
  4. Open Access Wabamun Carbon Hub
    • Proponent: Enbridge
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone (North), Nisku (South)
    • Capture: Capital Power Genesee generating station and Lehigh Edmonton cement plant
    • Proposed opening: 2025
    • Proposed Capacity: 4,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 211,072 hectares (23 townships)
    • Location: West of Edmonton, by Wabamun, Alberta
    • Remarks: co-owned with First Nations Capital Investment Partnership (Alexander First Nation, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Enoch Cree Nation and Paul First Nation) and the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community
    • Update May 2024: Capital Power discontinued its Genesee Power Plant CO2 capture project (cost $2.4 billion, 3 million tons CO2/year)
  5. Origins Project
    • Proponent: Enhance Energy
    • Geological formation: Woodbend Group/Leduc Formation
    • Capture: open access hub, with contributions from cement production, power generation, and petrochemical processing
    • Proposed capacity: up to 20,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 544,512 hectares (58 townships)
    • Location: East of Red Deer
    • Remarks: located at the southern terminus of the existing Alberta Carbon Trunk line, with proposed pipeline links to Calgary area
  6. Wolf Hub
    • Proponent: Wolf Midstream
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: from emitters in the Alberta Industrial Heartland
    • Proposed operation: end of 2024
    • Proposed capacity: 2 to 3,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 184,064 hectares (20 townships)
    • Location: East of Edmonton, by Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
    • Remarks: Located in the northern part of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (operated by Wolf Midstream); project partners include Whitecap Resources, First Nation Capital Investment Partnership (FNCIP) and Heart Lake First Nation
Round 2 (October 2022)

The Government of Alberta held a second competitive bid round targeting projects in areas outside of Edmonton’s Industrial Heartland area. Nineteen evaluation permits were awarded in October of 2022.

  1. Athabasca Banks Carbon Hub
    • Proponent: Vault 44.01 and Moraine Initiatives
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: proposed Moraine Initiatives 465 MW gas-fired power plant in Whitecourt
    • Proposed operation: 2027
    • Proposed capacity: 100,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 73,280 hectares (8 townships)
    • Location: North of Whitecourt, Alberta
  2. Battle River Carbon Hub (BRCH)
    • Proponent: Heartland Generation
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: open access, with main contributions from Battle River Generating Station (legacy coal fired plant, converted to natural gas, with plans to be converted into hydrogen-fired electricity generation facility with CO2 sequestration)
    • Proposed capacity: 5,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 1,729,792 hectares (186 townships)
    • Location: East of Red Deer, in Flagstaff County
  3. Bow River Hub
    • Proponent: Inter Pipeline and Enthropy
    • Geological formation: Winterburn Group, Woodbend Group
    • Capture: from oil and gas, power generation plants and cement plants
    • Proposed capacity: 5,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 106,048 hectares (11 townships)
    • Location: North of Calgary
  4. Brazeau Carbon Sequestration
    • Proponent: Tidewater Midstream
    • Geological formation: Wabamun Formation
    • Capture: Tidewater Brazeau River Complex, a 180 mmcf/d natural gas processing plant and fractionation facility and blue hydrogen plant
    • Proposed capacity: 31,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 497,152 hectares (53 townships)
    • Location: West of Edmonton
  5. Central Alberta Hub
    • Proponent: Wolf Midstream and Whitecap
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: connected to Alberta Carbon Trunk Line
    • Proposed opening: 2027
    • Proposed capacity: N/A
    • Lease area: 978,624 hectares (105 townships)
    • Location: East of Red Deer
  6. East Calgary Region Carbon Sequestration Hub
    • Proponent: Reconciliation Energy Transition
    • Geological formation: Winterburn Group
    • Capture: from Southern Alberta industrial centers, RETI proposed sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) / biofuel facility and future hydrogen development
    • Proposed capacity: 5 to 10,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 368,640 hectares (40 townships)
    • Location: East of Calgary, between Strathmore and Drumheller
    • Remarks: Reconciliation Energy Transition Inc. (RETI) is an independent development company connected to Project Reconciliation, an effort to to grow Indigenous generational wealth in Canada
  7. Grande Prairie Net Zero Gateway
    • Proponent: NorthRiver MidstreamKeyera and Entropy
    • Geological formation: Belloy Formation
    • Proposed Capacity: 3,300,000 tonnes CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 93,952 hectares (10 townships)
    • Location: North-West of Grande Prairie
  8. Greenview Region CCUS Project
    • Proponent: ARC Resources
    • Geological formation: Woodbend Group
    • Capture: from natural gas processing in Greenview Industrial Gateway
    • Proposed capacity: N/A
    • Lease area: 68,096 hectares (7 townships)
    • Location: East of Grande Prairie, by Valleyview, Alberta
  9. Maskwa Project
    • Proponent: Kiwetinohk Energy
    • Geological formation: El Point Group
    • Capture: at Maskwa MPC natural gas fired powered plant
    • Proposed capacity: N/A
    • Lease area: 146,176 hectares (16 townships)
    • Location: Swan Hills, Alberta
  10. North Drumheller Hub
    • Proponent: Bison Low Carbon
    • Geological formation: Woodbend Group
    • Capture: from emitters in the Calgary area
    • Proposed capacity: N/A
    • Lease area: 66,816 hectares (7 townships)
    • Location: North of Drumheller, Alberta
  11. Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero
    • Proponent: Pathway Alliance
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Proposed opening: late 2026
    • Proposed capacity: 40,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Capture: from more than twenty oil sands in-situ and mining projects in the Athabasca/Cold Lake oil sands areas and oil sands upgraders operating the the Fort McMurray area
    • Lease area: 1,735,872 hectares (186 townships)
    • Location: Lloydminster-Cold Lake area via 400km pipeline
    • Remarks: Pathways Alliance is a consortium that includes CenovusCNRL , ConocoPhillips CanadaImperial OilMEG and Suncor.
  12. Opal Carbon Hub
    • Proponent: by Kiwetinohk Energy
    • Geological formation: El Point Group
    • Capture: Kiwetinohk Opal natural gas project
    • Proposed capacity: N/A
    • Lease Area: 82,944 hectares (9 townships)
    • Location: North-West of Whitecourt, Alberta
  13. Pincher Creek-Waterton Carbon Sequestration Hub
    • Proposed by West Lake Energy
    • Geological formation: Rundle Group/Turner Valley Formation
    • Capture: proposed blue ammonia plant, BowArk Energy approved gas-fired power generation station, other industrial emitters
    • Proposed capacity: 2,700,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 63,360 hectares (7 townships)
    • Location: South-West of Lethbridge
  14. Project Clear Horizon
    • Proponent: City of Medicine Hat
    • Geological formation: Basal Cambrian Sandstone
    • Capture: open access hub, for industrial facilities in South-Eastern Alberta
    • Proposed opening: 2027
    • Proposed capacity: 3,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 142,592 hectares (15 townships)
    • Location: North-West of Medicine Hat
  15. Ram River Carbon Sequestration
    • Proponent: Tidewater Midstream
    • Geological formation: Wabamun Formation, Winterburn Group
    • Capture: proposed Ram River renewable natural gas project
    • Proposed capacity: N/A
    • Lease area: 130,944 hectares (14 townships)
    • Location: West of Red Deer
  16. Rocky Mountain Carbon Vault
    • Proponent: Vault 44.01
    • Geological formation: Woodbend Group
    • Capture from: West Fraser pulp mill, Torchlight Hinton Bioenergy (BECCS) plant
    • Proposed opening: 2027
    • Proposed capacity: 1,300,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 125,568 hectares (13 townships)
    • Location: near Hinton, Alberta, via 30km pipeline
    • Remarks: Capture FEED to be competed in 2023, evaluation well to be drilled in Q3/2024, FID by Q1/2025, operational by 2027
  17. Rolling Hills Carbon Sequestration
    • Proponent: AltaGas and Whitecap
    • Geological formation: Woodbend Group
    • Capture: open access hub, facilities owned and operated by Whitecap and AltaGas
    • Proposed opening: 2026
    • Proposed capacity: N/A
    • Lease area: 134,400 hectares (14 townships)
    • Location: North-West of Calgary
  18. The Grande Prairie CCS Hub
    • Proponent: Enhance Energy
    • Geological formation: Belloy Formation, Woodbend Group
    • Capture: proposed Nauticol Blue Methanol facility
    • Proposed opening: 2025
    • Proposed capacity: 1,000,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 244,096 hectares (26 townships)
    • Location: North-East of Grande Prairie
    • Remarks: the $4B Grande Prairie Nauticol Energy Blue Methanol project was cancelled in February of 2023.
  19. Tourmaline Clearwater CCUS
    • Proponent: Tourmaline Oil
    • Geological formation: Turner Valley Formation
    • Capture: Tourmaline gas plants
    • Proposed capacity: 500,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Lease area: 127,104 hectares (14 townships)
    • Location: South of Edson
Proposed carbon storage capacity and intensity
Other projects

Several other projects incorporate carbon capture and/or sequestration in their scope. A few benefit from provincial investments through Emission Reductions Alberta and Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund. The Carbon Capture Kickstart Challenge campaign (CCK) identified several CCUS development projects.

  1. CCUS as part of Air Products net zero hydrogen complex
    • Proponent: Air Products
    • Capture: Air Products hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton
    • Proposed opening: 2024
    • Remarks: capture at Hydrogen liquefaction facility in Edmonton, CO2 transport via Alberta Carbon Trunk Line to storage sites in Central Alberta
  2. CCUS at Dow Ethylene
    • Proponent: Dow Industrial
    • Location: Dow Ethylene Cracker site in Fort Saskatchewan
    • Remarks: world’s first net-zero carbon emissions ethylene and derivatives complex
  3. CCUS technology at the Genesee power plants
    • Proponent: Capital Power
    • Location: Genesee 1 and 2 natural gas power plants in Wabamun, West of Edmonton
    • Remarks: ties into Enbridge’s Open Access Wabamun Carbon Hub
    • Update: Capital Power dropped the 2.4 B$ project in May of 2024
  4. Cvictus Enhanced Hydrogen Recovery (EHR):
    • Proponent: Cvictus Energy
    • Location: East of Red Deer
    • Lease area: Cvictus hold rights in 9 sections (2,330 hectares) in coals from surface to basement
    • Proposed capacity: The proposed production of 7 tons of Hydrogen per day would result in 27,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Remarks: Syngas production from underground combustion of coal beds with CO2 and flue gas sequestration, with target hydrogen production of 7 tons per day by 2025
    • Update: Cvictus received a $10 million grant from CRIN (Clean Resource Innovation Network) in May 2022
  5. Hinton Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Sequestration Project
  6. Lafarge Exshaw cement plant
    • Proponent: Lafarge Canada
    • Remarks: Lafarge also collaborates with Svante to capture flue gas at its Richmond, BC plant since 2021, in a process dubbed CO2ment
    • Update: Recipient of $5 million grant from Emission Reduction Alberta (ERA) Carbon Capture Kickstart program in November 2023
  7. Polaris carbon capture project
    • Proponent: Shell Canada
    • Location: Fort Saskatchewan
    • Capture: from Shell operated Scotford upgrader
    • Remarks: tie into Atlas Sequestration Hub
  8. Strathcona Cold Lake CCUS Hub
    • Proponent: Strathcona Resources Ltd.
    • Capture: from three thermal oil projects (Tucker Lake, Orion, Lindbergh)
    • Potential capacity: 2,200,000 tons CO2 per year
    • Remarks: Strathcona identifies optimal post-combustion carbon capture technology
    • Update July 2024: Strathcona Resources Ltd. announces $2 billion Carbon Capture project, in partnership with Canada Growth Fund. CGF will invest 500 million initially, with contribution of up to 1 billion, to cover 50% of cost related to carbon capture. The project will sequester of up to 2 megatons of CO2 per year. Strathcona secured CO2 sequestration rights from the Government of Saskatchewan.

Most round 2 permits expire in December 2027. Lease areas very in size, from large (186 townships – Pathways and Battle River, 111 townships – Atlas Hub) to small (7 townships – Pincher Creek, North Drumheller and Greenview). Total lease area extends over 1,100 townships, or 10 million hectares.

The proposed plate capacity is highly variable, from small local projects to paradigm shifting megaprojects. Ambitious projects like Enhance’s 20 megaton Origin project, or Pathway Alliance’s 40 megaton per year project are enormous in size. For reference, the total world-wide carbon sequestration in 2022 was 40 megatons.

Existing CCUS projects have nameplate capacity of 15,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Not all proposed projects declare target capacity, but the numbers for those who set targets are sizable. Round 1 projects in the Industrial Heartland around Edmonton add another 50,000,000 tonnes, with round 2 projects adding 66,000,000 tonnes, for a combined total of over 110,000,000 tones of captured and sequestered CO2 announced. This represents less than half of Alberta’s total emissions of 256,000,000 tonnes, but the quantity is close to Paris Agreement commitments (50% reduction from peak emissions in 2025).

Chinook Services

Chinook Energies

Chinook Consulting assists CCUS operators involved in carbon sequestration with the same suite of services catered to the oil and gas industry:

Chinook is a member of several organizations with a focus on clean technology and alternative resources: CanGEA, Geothermal Canada, CSPG, CGEF.

Interactive CCUS Hub Map

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© Chinook Consulting Services, 2023, 2024

Author:
Calin Dragoie

Posted On:
July 30, 2023

Category:
Geoscience, Posts