Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

CCS is a technology that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial processes before it enters the atmosphere, transports it, and then either stores it permanently underground or repurposes it to make products like concrete or carbon-fibre materials. It’s an important part of helping the oil sands industry achieve our net-zero goal.

The Pathways CCS network

Our foundational project uses a CO2 transportation line to link carbon capture facilities at oil sands operations to a storage hub in northern Alberta. The province and our industry have decades of experience safely developing, deploying, and monitoring this technology.

Infographic of the carbon capture and storage process at an oil sands facility

FAQS

  • How exactly does carbon capture and storage work?

    In the capture stage, equipment attached to industrial facilities diverts gas containing CO2 (before it reaches the atmosphere) into vessels. Then a chemical separates and captures the CO2.

    The captured CO2 is compressed to convert it to a liquid. A specially designed pipeline transfers the liquid CO2 to the secure storage hub. The Pathways Alliance CCS project will follow existing pipeline routes as much as possible.

    Finally, the liquid is injected into the storage hub deep underground. In this case, it will be injected into a non-potable saline aquifer (a permeable rock formation that contains groundwater too salty to be usable). The CO2 stays permanently trapped underneath cap rock.

  • Is there any proof carbon capture works?

    Yes. Canada already has CCS projects that have been reliably operating for years, and there are dozens more around the world. About 100 projects like ours are in progress in other countries, including in Norway and the Netherlands. They’ve also proven that industry-government collaboration can help achieve net-zero goals.

  • Is it safe?

    Yes. The rock formations that have stored oil and gas for millions of years can also securely store CO2 permanently. The many overlying layers of impermeable rock formations act as natural seals.

  • Are the storage sites monitored?

    Yes. Alberta adopted CCS technologies early, so the province is governed by comprehensive legislation.

    The Pathways Alliance team is made up of scientists and engineers with significant technical experience in subsurface reservoirs, rock properties, and safe transportation and storage of gasses. They’ll also conduct extensive and regular monitoring of:

    • injection wells
    • storage formation
    • deep monitoring wells
    • shallow groundwater wells
  • How are you working with governments on this project?

    We’ve submitted our application to the Government of Alberta for secure underground storage rights near Cold Lake, and we’re awaiting the outcome.

    The federal government announced an Investment Tax Credit for carbon capture utilization and storage projects. It’s a positive step forward in our foundational CCS project and our efforts to help Canada achieve its climate goals.

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Cautionary Statement: Statements of future events or conditions in this press release, including projections, targets, expectations, estimates, and business plans are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as achieve, aspiration, believe, anticipate, intend, propose, plan, goal, seek, project, predict, target, estimate, expect, forecast, vision, strategy, outlook, schedule, future, continue, likely, may, should, will and/or similar references to outcomes in future periods. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, references to the viability, timing and impact of the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative collaboration and the development of pathways in support of a net-zero future; support for the pathways from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada; the ability to enable net zero emissions from oil production and preserve economic contribution from the industry; the continued role of fossil fuels as part of a diversified energy mix; and the deployment of technologies to reduce GHG emissions, such as CCUS, process improvements, energy efficiency, fuel switching, electrification, infrastructure corridors and new emissions-reducing technologies. All net-zero references in this announcement apply to emissions from oil sands operations (defined as scope 1 and scope 2 emissions).

Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions at the time the statements are made. Actual future results, including expectations and assumptions concerning: demand growth and energy source, supply and mix; amount and timing of emissions reductions; the adoption and impact of new facilities or technologies, including on reductions to GHG emissions; project plans, timing, costs, technical evaluations and capacities, and the ability to effectively execute on these plans and operate assets; that any required support for the pathways from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada will be provided; applicable laws and government policies, including climate change and restrictions in response to COVID-19; production rates, growth and mix; general market conditions; and capital and environmental expenditures, could differ materially depending on a number of factors. These factors include global, regional or local changes in supply and demand for oil, natural gas, and petroleum and petrochemical products and the resulting price, differential and margin impacts; political or regulatory events, including changes in law or government policy and actions in response to COVID-19; the receipt, in a timely manner, of regulatory and third-party approvals including for new technologies; lack of required support from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada; environmental risks inherent in oil and gas exploration and production activities; environmental regulation, including climate change and GHG regulation and changes to such regulation; availability and allocation of capital; availability and performance of third-party service providers; unanticipated technical or operational difficulties; project management and schedules and timely completion of projects; reservoir analysis and performance; unexpected technological developments; the results of research programs and new technologies, and ability to bring new technologies to commercial scale on a cost-competitive basis; operational hazards and risks; general economic conditions, including the occurrence and duration of economic recessions; and other factors referenced by the companies’ in their most recent respective annual reports and management’s discussion and analysis, as applicable.

Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, some that are similar to other oil and gas companies and some that are unique to the companies. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by its forward-looking statements and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on them. The companies undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release, except as required by applicable law.