MRO Magazine

Canadian oil sands producers announce alliance to achieve net zero GHG emissions


Engineering

June 11, 2021
By Maryam Farag


Industries

Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy announced the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative.

These companies operate approximately 90 per cent of Canada’s oil sands production. The goal of this alliance, working with the federal and Alberta governments, is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands operations by 2050 to help Canada meet its climate goals, including its Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net zero aspirations.

The initiative is anchored by a major carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) trunk line connected to a carbon sequestration hub to enable multi-sector ‘tie-in’ projects for expanded emissions reductions. The proposed CCUS system is similar to the multi-billion-dollar Long-ship/Northern Lights project in Norway as well as other CCUS projects in the Netherlands, U.K. and U.S.

“This collaborative effort amongst oil sands peers shows our serious commitment toglobal climate leadership,” said Alex Pourbaix, President and CEO, Cenovus. “We are doing more than just talking about the need to play a role – we are taking boldaction to adder our emissions challenge and earn our spot as the supplier of choice to meet the world’s growing demand for energy.”

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The initiative incorporates pathways to address GHG emissions, including:

  • A core Alberta infrastructure corridor linking oil sands facilities in the Fort McMurray and Cold Lake regions to a carbon sequestration hub near Cold Lake via a CO2trunkline. The trunk-line would be available to other industries in the region interested in capturing and sequestering CO2. There is potential to link the infrastructure corridor to the Edmonton region.
  • Deploying existing and emerging GHG reduction technologies at oil sands operations along the corridor, including CCUS technology, clean hydrogen, process improvements, energy efficiency, fuel switching and electrification.
  • Evaluating, piloting and accelerating application of potential emerging emissions-reducing technologies including direct air capture, next-generation recovery technologies and small modular nuclear reactors.

“Collaboration among companies, innovators and governments is critical to achieving ambitious goals. That’s how we built a budding oil sands resource into oneof the world’s most reliable and ESG-leading oil basins in the world,” said Mark Little, President and CEO, Suncor. “Canada – as one of the fewjurisdictions with industrial-scale   commercial CCUS projects in operation, coupled with Alberta’s abundant natural gas resources, geology and relevant technologicalexpertise – is well positioned to lead in this area.”