Our plan

We recognize climate change is a critical challenge of our time, and that our industry has an essential role to play in helping our country meet its climate goals. 

To help Canada meet its climate goals, we have a three-phased plan to ensure immediate progress to reduce carbon emissions and achieve a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Our plan includes key short-term steps to ensure immediate progress towards those goals.

How we’ll achieve our plan

There is no single path to net zero. That’s why we’re pursuing multiple technologies and approaches to achieve our goal of net zero emissions by 2050. 

A major component of our plan, and one we can implement the fastest, is carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. CCS involves capturing CO2 emissions at the source, then transporting the CO2 to safe storage deep underground in geological formations. CCS is a safe, proven and reliable technology and Canada is a leader in using it.  

Find out more about CCS

In addition to CCS, we will continue to advance other existing and emerging technologies, such as direct air capture and switching to lower carbon fuels such as clean hydrogen and electricity to power oil sands operations. 

Because of the amount of long-term capital investment required to build carbon capture and storage infrastructure, and the speed needed to meet 2030 targets, the countries that are doing this successfully are all using a collaborative model where governments are co-investing alongside industry. It also requires a supportive fiscal/regulatory system. 

Pathways Alliance Logo

Plan to achieve net zero

The Pathways Alliance has an ambitious three-phased plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Our plan

Our foundational CCS project

Initially, the Pathways Alliance will focus on building a foundational carbon capture and storage network in northern Alberta. At the heart of the network is a proposed carbon transportation line to gather captured CO2 from more than 20 oil sands facilities and move it to a proposed hub in the Cold Lake area of Alberta for safe underground storage. The line would also be available to other industries in the region interested in capturing and storing CO2.  

Our three-phased approach

No one solution will get us to net zero oil production. We need multiple parallel pathways. These include improvements to the current process as well as emerging technologies. Other avenues include electrification, fuel substitution and improved energy efficiency.

Our 3-phased approach will achieve reduced emissions.

Phase 1: 2020-30

CCS

Phase 2: 2030-40

Improve efficiencies

Phase 3: 2040-50

Emerging technologies

Includes employing carbon capture and storage to transport carbon to a storage facility; could be expanded to include carbon capture from 20+ oil sands facilities and from other industries.

Includes using emerging technologies to improve processes and increase carbon capture; exploring alternative power sources, such as small modular reactors, for oil sands production.

Our plan’s final phase will focus on exploring and developing existing and emerging tech, including direct air capture.

What is CCS?

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) captures greenhouse gas emissions before, during and after combustion. The emissions are removed and stored safely (called sequestering). In some applications, the carbon can be re-purposed and used to make products such as concrete or carbon fibre materials. This is called Carbon Capture  Storage.

Does it work?

Yes. Canada already has CCS projects that have been safely and reliably operating for years. In addition, there are numerous projects similar to the Pathways CCS network underway around the world. 

Globally, similar projects in Norway and the Netherlands have reduced greenhouse gas emissions substantially. These European examples have proven that industry-government collaboration can help reduce emissions towards achieving net zero emissions.  

It’s made in Canada

We’re building on lessons learned from these countries as we create our own home-grown solution.  

We need the expertise of the people who work for the companies that make up the Pathways Alliance. We need the innovative thinking of those who work in the Clean Tech sector. And we need clear and transparent policy and comprehensive regulatory frameworks. 

"The oil sands industry has an important role to play in helping our country achieve a sustainable energy future. Through the Pathways Alliance, our vision is for Canada to become the global supplier of choice for responsibly produced oil."
Kris Smith, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Suncor

We need the bright minds of the people who work for the companies that make up the Pathways Alliance. We need the bright minds of those who work in the Clean Tech sector. And we need policy and regulatory support of government.

Innovation & technology

Advancing innovation and technology to reduce emissions isn’t new to the oil sands industry. We’ve been doing it for a long time. In fact, we’ve reduced overall emissions intensity by over 23 per cent between 2012 and 2019.  

We have a long history of furthering industry progress through technological advance. Our industry follows some of the world’s most stringent environmental regulations, and we set the highest standards in managing our energy projects. That’s why Canada is uniquely positioned to be a global leader in responsible oil production. 

We know Canadian ingenuity, leadership and collaboration can solve the climate challenge. And the most effective way forward will come from new technologies.

Community

A community of stakeholders

Achieving net zero will require collaboration across industries, with both levels of government and with many other critical stakeholders. We will continue to work closely with municipalities, Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, our suppliers in every region of Canada and our investors. 

Indigenous communities are vital

The Pathways Alliance companies have all made significant strides towards reconciliation with Indigenous communities located near our operations. We look forward to continuing our engagement with those communities in the months and years ahead to ensure their ideas and concerns are heard as we advance our three-phased plan and strive to make our emissions-reduction goal a reality. 

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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.