The Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance has taken the next step in its goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with the submission of a project proposal to the Government of Alberta to secure underground storage rights – known as “pore space”.
The pore space is required for the Alliance’s proposed carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) project, which would be one of the largest of its kind in the world.
If approved, the Pathways carbon storage hub, located near Cold Lake, Alberta, could begin safely injecting and storing captured CO2 deep underground in a saline aquifer from a number of oil sands facilities by late 2026.
“Securing pore space for this unprecedented project is a critical step in providing the investment certainty required to progress the Pathways Alliance plan to help Canada meet its climate goals and ensure our country becomes a preferred global supplier of responsibly produced oil,” said Kendall Dilling, Interim Director of the Pathways Alliance.
The proposed Pathways Alliance carbon storage hub would be connected to a transportation line that would initially gather captured CO2 from an anticipated 11 oil sands facilities in the Fort McMurray, Christina Lake and Cold Lake regions.
The proposal is to grow the collection network to include more than 20 oil sands facilities. The transportation line will parallel existing rights-of-way to the greatest extent possible to limit land disturbance.
The Pathways Alliance estimates a net reduction of 10 MT of CO2 annually by 2030 via CCUS from oil sands facilities alone with as much as an additional 30 MT per year by 2050. It’s a key part of the Pathways Alliance plan to achieve its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The transportation line and storage hub will also be available to accommodate other industries in the region interested in capturing and storing CO2.
Engagement and consultation preparations underway
The Pathways Alliance model will also ensure minimal land and surface disturbances occur as the transportation line and storage hub are developed and that the pore space is managed as efficiently as possible.
Preparations are underway for consultation and further engagement with Indigenous groups and stakeholders within the project’s transportation line and storage hub area. Formal project consultation is anticipated to begin in the third quarter of 2022.
Widespread use of CCUS will be vital to global climate change efforts
Global organizations such as the International Energy Agency and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have clearly stated that widespread implementation of CCUS must be part of the solution to mitigate climate change.