Last Thursday, Pembina Pipeline Corporation and TC Energy Corporation announced a plan to jointly develop a carbon transportation and sequestration system. Called the Alberta Carbon Grid, the project will use existing pipelines as well as newly developed sequestration hub to help Alberta-based industries effectively manage their emissions.
When fully constructed, the system is expected to be capable of transporting more than 20 million tonnes of CO2 annually, which represents approximately 10 per cent of Alberta’s industrial emissions.
In a press release issued by the two companies, the open-access system “will serve as the backbone of Alberta’s emerging carbon capture utilization and storage industry, connecting the Fort McMurray region, the Alberta Industrial Heartland, and the Drayton Valley region to key sequestration locations and delivery points across the province, and serving multiple industries.”
“Carbon capture, utilization and storage will lower emissions, create jobs, and increase our competitiveness,” said the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “Congratulations to Pembina and TC Energy for coming together with an integrated CO2 transportation and storage infrastructure solution to lower emissions in Alberta. This is how we get to net-zero.”
To achieve Canada’s enhanced climate targets, including a 40 – 45 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, CCUS technology and infrastructure will play a vital role.
As a hub-based infrastructure solution that is accessible to Alberta’s largest industrial emitters across industries, the companies say ACG will pave the way for Canada to successfully meet its emissions reduction objectives. As well, Pembina and TC Energy say they view the ACG as a multi-sector solution with interconnectivity between multiple key hubs for expanded emissions reductions.
Through redeployment, retrofits using proven technology, recapitalization, and optimization of surplus capacity across the companies’ collective pipeline systems, ACG is designed to connect the province’s largest sources of industrial emissions to a sequestration location north-east of Redwater, Alberta.
The principal segments include:
- North Leg: Pembina and TC Energy plan to retrofit existing pipeline systems, combined with new build expansion to connect the Oil Sands to a sequestration hub. Initial hydraulics indicate a design capacity of up to 40,000 tonnes of CO2 per day, allowing a significant portion of emissions from the Fort McMurray area to be transported to a sequestration location;
- Central Leg: Pembina and TC Energy plan to retrofit existing pipeline systems, combined with new gathering laterals, to provide interconnectivity in the Alberta Industrial Heartland and gather and deliver CO2 from and to industrial sources with initial hydraulics indicating a design capacity of 10,000 to 20,000 tonnes per day;
- Southwest Leg: Pembina and TC Energy plan to retrofit existing pipeline systems, combined with new build expansion, to form the southwest leg of the system. This portion would capture CO2 from power generation facilities in the region with possible capacity of 10,000 to 20,000 tonnes per day;
- Future Legs: With customer support, Pembina and TC Energy have identified multiple opportunities to extend ACG into other regions, for example Joffre, Christina Lake, Cold Lake or Swan Hills, enabling future expansions and greater connectivity;
- Sequestration: A reservoir near Fort Saskatchewan has been selected, where large volumes of CO2 will be sequestered in the Basal Cambrian Sands. Permit applications have been prepared and the companies have worked with the Government of Alberta to obtain support for the Project and set a path to obtain sequestration rights. Initial studies indicate this reservoir will be capable of sequestering more than 2,000,000,000 tonnes of CO2, which represents many decades of sequestration capacity. The companies envision delivering to both the proposed sequestration location as well as 3rd party sequestration locations, establishing the development of a strategically located carbon storage hub in the Fort Saskatchewan region.
The two companies say they are open to other infrastructure owners with suitable existing infrastructure to join the partnership.
“Alberta is already a global leader in advancing and investing in CCUS technology with over $1.24 billion committed to-date,” said the Honourable Jason Nixon, Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks. Nixon adds “CCUS is one of the most promising forms of emissions-reduction technology – both in terms of cost-effectiveness and tangible environmental outcomes.”
The companies say utilizing existing assets will dramatically accelerate timing, greatly reduce cumulative environmental and community impacts, and is significantly less capital intensive than building a new pipeline.
François Poirier, Chief Executive Officer and President of TC Energy said “Industry players collaborating to leverage our existing energy infrastructure and expertise to support meaningful emission reductions and reduce our carbon footprint is a great example of how we can secure meaningful new investment opportunities, serve current and future customers and achieve operational excellence while continuing to safely and responsibly deliver the energy people need.”
Pembina and TC Energy say they are targeting the first phase of the project to be operational as early as 2025, with the fully scaled solution complete as early as 2027, subject to regulatory and environmental approvals. Along with environmental benefits, the project is expected to create new high-value jobs and support economic growth across Alberta.