A carbon capture project that will pump millions of tonnes of CO2 into underground reservoirs near Clive is operational, the company behind it announced Tuesday.
The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line system will capture CO2 at the North West Redwater Partnership Sturgeon Refinery, near Edmonton, and transport it through a 240-kilometre pipeline owned by Wolf Midstream to a mature oilfield at Clive.
The CO2 will be injected underground. It acts like a solvent, reducing the viscosity of the oil, allowing it to be pumped to the surface. The CO2 is then permanently stored underground.
Oil produced from the process, known as enhanced oil recovery, is 60 per cent less carbon intensive than conventionally produced oil.
“This will change how business is done in Alberta,” says Enhance Energy CEO Kevin Jarbusch in a news release.
“We are putting CO2 to use. We permanently keep CO2 out of the environment, while producing low-carbon energy.
“Not only are we reinvigorating our rural energy economy at a time when it is needed most, but we are playing a key role in advancing a sustainable solution to global energy requirements.”
Announced more than a decade ago, the federal and provincial governments provided funding for the $1.2-billion project.
The trunk line system is the world’s largest capacity pipeline for CO2 created by human activity. It is capable of transporting 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year — the equivalent of 20 per cent of all current oilsands emissions, or equal to the impact of taking more than 2.6 million cars off Alberta roads.
Calgary-based Enhance Energy specializes in enhanced oil recovery and owns and operates the Clive field.
The system is designed so that it can be expanded to connect with other facilities and storage reservoirs in the future as demand increases.
Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law said they are pleased to hear the project is operating.
“This will be very good for the area and as well as for the environment.”
Enhance Energy recently went before Lacombe County council to ask for a tax break in light of the financial challenges posed by low oil prices.
The company has asked the county to waive drilling taxes for the next five years and provide a three-year tax holiday for any new infrastructure built as part of the project.
Relaxations in paving requirements at oilfield sites were also requested.
The company would continue to submit the $300,000 in drilling and property taxes it is already paying.
“Their request for a tax break will be coming back to council to debate at our next meeting (June 11),” said Law.