Carbon capture and storage (CCS) process

Our proposed CCS storage hub has the potential to store more than 1.1 billion tonnes of CO₂ deep underground, making sure it doesn’t reach the atmosphere.

How does CCS work?

Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is a key part of the Pathways Alliance plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from oil sands operations.

CCS is a proven, reliable process that captures carbon dioxide, CO2, from industrial facilities before it is released into the atmosphere, and stores it deep underground.

It’s a three-step process: capture, transport and storage.

CO2 capture technologies can be fitted to a large CO2 emissions source. The technology diverts the flue gas containing CO2 before it reaches the atmosphere, where it would otherwise contribute to the conditions that cause climate change.

A chemical compound such as amine is used to capture up to 95% of the CO2. The amine causes the CO2 molecules to collect at the bottom of a separation tank. The harmless leftover gas of mostly water vapor and nitrogen is then safely released. Meanwhile, the CO2 molecules are heated to separate them from the amine compound.

Next, the CO2 is compressed to behave like a liquid. As a result, the CO2 takes up less space so we can store more. A specially designed pipeline transports liquid CO2 to a secure storage location. Here, it’s injected more than one kilometre underground into stable rock formations—a depth equivalent to about three stacked Empire State Buildings.

The CO2 stays trapped beneath cap rock, much like how oil and gas have been stored for millions of years. Comprehensive monitoring confirms CO2 remains securely stored, so that it doesn’t enter the atmosphere.

By working together and with governments, oil sands companies are helping Canada meet its climate goals. CCS is one of many paths that will lead oil sands operations to net-zero emissions.


*Visuals for illustrative purposes only.

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A diagram of the carbon capture process. Three main steps are shown: emissions capture, heat separation and compression.

A chemical compound such as an amine captures CO₂ from emissions

Using heat, the CO₂ is separated from the amine

CO₂ is pressurized and turned into liquid form, which can flow through the pipeline



*Visuals for illustrative purposes only. Additional facilities not shown.

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Learn more about the CO₂ transportation pipeline

Cold Lake Region

Fort McMurray

In-Situ Sites

An approximately 400-kilometre line will connect 20 production facilities to the storage hub following existing pipeline rights-of-way wherever possible to minimize land disturbance.


*Visuals for illustrative purposes only.

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Greater than 1 km deep





Rock salt


Sandstone storage layers

Granite (Precambrian basement)

Above the sandstone layer lie hundreds of metres of rock salt, which act as a natural seal. Under the sandstone layer is Precambrian metamorphic basement rock, which is impermeable (it has no pore spaces).

Rigorous monitoring at every depth ensures stored CO₂ remains secure and stable.

This location is in a deep layer of sandstone. Sandstone is porous, which means it’s full of small spaces, like a sponge. When injected underground in liquid form, CO₂ fills these spaces in the rock. This layer has the capacity to eventually store more than 1.1 billion tonnes of CO₂.

CO₂ Injection Path
Monitoring System

Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

Find out why we’ve chosen CCS and explore other projects like ours around the world.


Safety and risk management are our top priorities. Get more details and find answers to common questions.


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