Shell is celebrating the official opening of the Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta, Canada, and the start of commercial operations there. Quest is designed to capture and safely store more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year – equal to the emissions from about 250,000 cars. Quest was made possible through strong collaboration between the public and private sectors aimed at advancing CCS globally.
As part of its funding arrangements, Shell is publically sharing information on Quest's design and processes to further global adoption of CCS. Quest draws on techniques used by the energy industry for decades and integrates the components of CCS for the large-scale capture, transport and storage of CO2. CCS is one of the only technologies that can significantly reduce carbon emissions from industrial sectors of the economy.
Speaking at the official opening, Shell’s Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said: "Quest represents a significant milestone in the successful design, construction and use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology on a commercial scale. Quest is a blueprint for future CCS projects globally. Together with government and joint-venture partners, we are sharing the know-how to help make CCS technologies more accessible and cost-effective for the energy industry and other key industrial sectors of the economy.”
Quest will capture one-third of the emissions from Shell’s Scotford Upgrader, which turns oil sands bitumen into synthetic crude that can be refined into fuel and other products. The CO2 is then transported through a 65-kilometre pipeline and injected more than two kms underground below multiple layers of impermeable rock formations. Quest is now operating at commercial scale after successful testing earlier this year, during which it captured and stored more than 200,000 tonnes of CO2.
Quest was built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project joint-venture owners Shell Canada Energy (60 per cent), Chevron Canada Limited (20 per cent) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20 per cent), and was made possible through strong support from the governments of Alberta and Canada who provided C$865 million in funding.
Collaboration is continuing through Quest between Shell and various parties in an effort to bring down costs of future CCS projects globally. This includes cooperation with the United States Department of Energy, and the British government on research at the Quest site.
“The secondment from the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute to the Quest CCS project is an example of British and Canadian cooperation in cutting-edge low-carbon technologies,” said Howard Drake, British High Commissioner to Canada. “This research-focused partnership will help to develop CCS expertise on both sides of the Atlantic in an effort to advance the innovative solutions demonstrated at Quest.”
Support from the local community was essential to building Quest. Shell initiated public consultation in 2008, two years before submitting a regulatory application.