Background details on progress to date  

More than 2,000 hours of environmental field work has been conducted since 2021.

November 27, 2023

Foundational CCS project  

  • Multiple feasibility studies on phase-one capture facilities, with engineering and design work progressing. 
  • Major regulatory applications for the CO2 transportation network and storage hub are being prepared and are expected to be filed in late 2023 or early 2024. 
  • Front end engineering and design work on the proposed 400+-kilometre CO2 transportation line is now more than half complete. 
  • This includes technical design and numerous tests to ensure the safe transport of CO2.  
  • Work is ongoing to obtain a carbon sequestration agreement from the Government of Alberta to support regulatory submissions for the carbon storage hub. 
  • Two wells in the storage hub area have been drilled and tested extensively to better understand the geological properties of the Basal Cambrian Sandstone (BCS) and multiple overlaying salts; four existing wells have been tested. 
  • More than 2,000 hours of environmental field work has been conducted since 2021.  
  • The environmental field program has been surveying the proposed transportation line and storage hub project areas conducting hundreds of heritage resource assessments, wetland classifications, soil assessments and aquatic habitat evaluations. 
  • The data gathered in the environmental field program will be used to mitigate any potential impacts of the foundational CCS project on the natural environment. 
  • Formal consultation and engagement work with Indigenous groups along the proposed CO2 transportation corridor and storage network began in the fall 2023 and was preceded by months of discussions about the project with communities. 
  • Pathways Alliance continues to meet with other local community members and landowners to share information about CCS and the proposed project.  

Advancement of other emissions reduction technologies 

  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Pathways Alliance members are currently advancing several other CCS technology development projects that have the potential to be used by other industries and exported globally, including: 
  • Advancing conventional carbon capture technology to improve energy and cost efficiency. 
  • Assessing and piloting next generation CCS technologies, such as those developed by Svante and Ionada. 
  • Conducting a direct air capture landscape study to assess and understand future technologies.  
  • Evaluating the feasibility of CO₂ sequestration in depleted natural gas fields. 
  • Steam reduction technologiesto reduce the need for steam, which is a major driver of emissions from in-situ oil sands production. 
  • Member companies are piloting multiple technologies using solvents (lighter hydrocarbons) in steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) optimization.  
  • These processes have the potential to lower costs, reduce steam-to-oil ratios and lower GHG emissions intensity from oil sands production by up to 50%. 
  • Natural gas decarbonization and hydrogen use in oil sands facilities. A fuel switching pilot is being conducted to convert natural gas into hydrogen and solid carbon (that can be stored or used). This can significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the hydrogen production process and from natural gas combustion.  
  • Evaluating technology options for converting carbon in natural gas and flue gas into economically useful products like graphite. 
  • Small modular reactors:
  • Pathways Alliance is continuing analysis and evaluation of the application of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) as one of the many long-term methods to produce energy for industrial steam and sharply reduce CO2 emissions from oil sands production. 
  • One of the Pathways Alliance members, Cenovus Energy, has completed a joint feasibility study to assess how SMRs could be applied in the oil sands and has launched the next stage of assessment through various engineering, design and other studies. 

More detailed information on emissions reduction work underway by Pathways Alliance members can be found here

About Pathways Alliance 

Canada’s six largest oil sands companies are working together – and with governments – on an ambitious plan to help meet the national 2050 net zero goal and deliver the world’s preferred barrel of responsibly produced oil.  

The Pathways Alliance members have set goals to reduce emissions from oil sands operations (scopes 1 and 2) by 22 million tonnes per year by 2030 and achieve its goal of net zero from oil sands operations by 2050.  

To do this, a multi-stage effort is planned to deploy various emissions reduction technologies, including one of the world’s largest proposed carbon capture and storage projects that would be constructed in the Cold Lake region of northeastern Alberta.  

The Pathways Alliance is a model for all sectors within Canada and globally of how peer companies can set aside their competitiveness to work together towards a common goal.  

The Pathways Alliance is made up of Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips Canada, Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy.