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Old Posted May 25, 2019, 2:15 PM
Eau Claire Eau Claire is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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More big news on the carbon capture front, and from a Canadian project too:
“A Royal Dutch Shell Plc-operated carbon capture and storage project in Canada has hit a milestone of sequestering 4 million tons of carbon dioxide about six months ahead of schedule and at a lower cost than estimated, helped by better-than-expected reliability.
The Quest facility, which sequesters emissions from the Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton, Alberta, started up in November 2015 and has since run ahead of its target of capturing 1 million tons of carbon a year, said Anne Halladay, a geophysicist who has been an adviser on the project since it was in construction in 2014. That performance has been driven by less unplanned maintenance than projected and more efficient performance, including less chemical usage, she said.
While Shell's carbon storage project has been a success, Halladay sees more of a future for projects that use the sequestered carbon for industrial purposes such as fertilizer, pharmaceuticals and enhanced oil recovery. Halladay said large projects like Quest tend to need large amounts of capital and more regulatory incentives to get built. The Quest facility cost about C$1.35 billion ($1 billion) to build and received C$865 million from the Canadian and Alberta governments.”
“”I think what we’ve been able to demonstrate over the past four years is that our costs are coming down. Initially in the project phase 5-10 years ago we thought it was going to cost us about $120/tonne to build and operate this facility. Now we’re finding that costs are more around $80/tonne, so that’s super significant,” she said.
“If we did this again, we think we could even get that lower to $60/tonne.”
That’s also an estimate of the cost to replicate the Quest CCS facility and not for a carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) project that involves a commercial use for the carbon dioxide - something like the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line.
The $900-million ACTL project is currently under construction and expected to start operating in 2020.
When completed, it will be the world’s largest CO2 pipeline. The 240-kilometre pipeline will collect captured CO2 from a fertilizer plant and the new Sturgeon Refinery near Edmonton, and pipe it to mature conventional oilfields near Clive, Alberta.
It is estimated that the CO2 from the pipeline will allow producers to wring an additional one billion barrels of light oil out of mature, largely depleted reservoirs.
ACTL is also expected to sequester up to 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year.”

$60/tonne is a very impressive number. It’s easy to see that even with a small carbon tax rebated to teh operator, say $30/tonne, it’s very realistic to think that there could be commercial uses for CO2 for the remaining $30/tonne plus a profit margin. And remember that we’re only 4 years into the 85 year project laid out in the 2015 Paris agreement, and already this is where the technology is at. There is still a lot of work to be done, however. There is a huge amount of carbon to be captured and it will be necessary to develop industries that use it and roll them out on a large scale over the next few decades. With CO2 this cheap lots of possibilities exist, but lots of work is still needed to turn them into realities.
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