CALGARY – Nov. 10, 2022 The Pathways Alliance, representing Canada’s largest oil sands producers, has released additional details on plans to progress innovative technologies to reduce emissions, as part of its unprecedented multi-phased plan to achieve the goal of net zero by 2050.
The list of technologies underscores the Alliance’s collaborative work to help Canada achieve its climate commitments, which is being showcased as part of the official Canadian delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
“Oil sands companies are advancing new and existing technologies with a range of leading national and international research and development organizations, unlocking new approaches to significantly reduce CO2 emissions,” said Kendall Dilling, president of the Pathways Alliance.
“Leading-edge technology is one of the most important tools we possess to reduce emissions on a global scale and Pathways Alliance companies have a long track record of world-class research and development (R&D) investments to build on. We look forward to a healthy exchange of ideas with delegates from around the world at COP27.”
Pathways Alliance has pooled scientists, engineers, and other experts from the member companies to execute its plan to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by 22 million tonnes by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. Over and above the construction of a foundational carbon capture network and storage hub by 2030, these industry experts are focused on developing the next generation of GHG-reducing technologies.
Technologies prioritized for Pathways Alliance collaboration and acceleration are:
- Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Pathways is currently advancing several CCS technology development projects, including:
- Piloting next generation technologies, such as those developed by Svante and the use of Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells.
- Continuous improvement of capture plants to improve energy and cost efficiency.
- Identifying and developing plans to reduce costs of next generation capture technologies.
- Evaluating the feasibility of CO2 sequestration in depleted gas fields.
- Natural Gas Decarbonization and Hydrogen Use to remove a high percentage of carbon from natural gas streams prior to combustion in oil sands facilities. Pathways members are currently:
- Undertaking feasibility studies for deploying hydrogen as a substitute fuel to displace natural gas use.
- Evaluating technology options for converting carbon in natural gas and flue gas into economically useful products.
- Steam reduction technologies to reduce the need for steam in bitumen production.
- Pilot of next generation high-concentration solvent technology developed in Imperial’s oil and gas research center
- Solvent-assisted SAGD optimization
The Pathways technology development plan also includes work on several other key technologies needed to achieve net zero by 2050 including:
- Switching fuel and electrification of mine haul trucks.
- Use of geothermal energy to produce hot water and steam to reduce emissions.
- Advancing approaches to better manage fugitive emissions.
- In pit extraction processes to minimize mine hauler fleet and associated emissions.
- Advancing direct air capture technology to remove CO2 from the ambient air for underground storage and/or conversion to liquid fuels.
- Assessing the future viability of small modular reactors – safe, versatile, and scalable technology that could supply zero-emissions energy for various oil sands applications.
With anticipated co-funding support from Canadian governments, Pathways Alliance recently announced plans to invest $24.1 billion before 2030 in the first phase of its plan.
Approximately $16.5 billion will support a proposed carbon capture and storage network in northeastern Alberta that, when constructed, will be among the largest facilities in the world. Another $7.6 billion investment is planned on major emissions reduction projects and technologies.
Between 2012 and 2021, Pathways Alliance’s six member companies invested more than $10 billion on R&D on various technologies. Some of these have helped the industry reduce per barrel CO2 emissions by about 20% between 2009 and 2020, according to S&P Global.
Formed in 2021, Pathways Alliance is a collaboration between Canadian Natural, Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips Canada, Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy, which together operate approximately 95 per cent of Canada’s oil sands production.
Canadians can learn more about Pathways Alliance’s plan and its unprecedented level of collaboration to develop and deploy technologies to reduce emissions by visiting https://pathwaysalliance.ca.