Alberta energy regulator approves Shell carbon capture project north of Edmonton

Shell Canada’s application for the Quest project, a proposed $1.3 billion carbon capture and storage operation situated northeast of Edmonton, has obtained approval from Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). This marks the first occasion that ERCB has given the go ahead to a carbon storage operation of this scale.

The fate of the project will now be determined by the company with a final decision expected later in the year from the board of Royal Dutch Shell and project partners Chevron and Marathon Oil. The Quest project involves the use of fledging technology, and its economic viability remains uncertain.

The project will see the storage of over one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year produced by the Scotford bitumen upgrader via injection into porous geological formations located 2.3km beneath the earth’s surface in the Thorhild region. The carbon dioxide will first be converted into liquid form, before being piped to the Thorhild region over a distance of 80km.

The Quest project is currently the one carbon capture project closest to implementation, with the Synfuels operation in Swan Hills and the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line still awaiting ERCB approval.