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Shell to Build CCS Project for Canadian Oil Sands Operation

Royal Dutch Shell announced it will build a $1.36 billion carbon capture and storage project to cut carbon dioxide emissions up to 35 percent at its 255,000-barrel-per-day oil sands upgrader in Canada.

Shell said the CCS project, which should be completed by late 2015, will capture more than one million metric tons of CO2 a year produced at Shell’s bitumen upgrading facility adjacent to its refinery near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

The CO2 will be captured from the upgrader’s hydrogen manufacturing units. An absorber vessel will use an amine solvent to capture the CO2, which is then released by heating. The CO2 is then dehydrated and compressed into a dense fluid for pipeline transport.

The CO2 will be transported by an 80-kilometer underground pipeline to a storage site north of Scotford. Here, the CO2 will be injected more than two kilometers underground into a porous rock formation called the Basal Cambrian Sands, which is located beneath layers of impermeable rock. Monitoring technology will be used to ensure the CO2 is permanently stored, Shell said.

The Quest CCS project is being built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands project’s joint venture owners, Shell, Chevron and Marathon Oil, with financial support from the governments of Canada and Alberta. The Alberta government will invest $745 million into Quest from a $2 billion fund created to support CCS. The government of Canada will invest $120 million through its Clean Energy Fund.

Shell is pursuing another CCS project with SSE that would permanently store CO2 in the North Sea. The Crown Estate, which manages business and housing properties, agricultural and forestry land as well as much of the seabed surrounding the UK for the monarchy, agreed in July to lease an area in the depleted Goldeneye gas field in the North Sea, 65 miles offshore of northeast Scotland, to Shell and SSE for a proposed project that will capture CO2 from the Peterhead power plant and then store it offshore.

Photo from Shell of employees standing next to the wellhead of the first Quest CO2 injection well

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