U.S. to test carbon monitoring technology at oil sands project

Wed Feb 4, 2015 1:41pm EST
 
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CALGARY, Alberta Feb 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Energy said on Wednesday it would spend up to $500,000 to test monitoring technologies at a Royal Dutch Shell Plc oil sands carbon-capture and storage facility under construction in northern Alberta.

The department said it will field test advanced monitoring, verification and accounting technologies for the storage of carbon dioxide underground at the Quest project, which is attached to an oil sands upgrader that converts bitumen from the oil sands into refinery-ready synthetic crude.

The department said such technologies are crucial to track the movement of carbon dioxide in underground storage reservoirs and to ensure the gas is permanently stored.

The C$1.35 billion Quest project will be Canada's second carbon and storage project when completed later this year, and store as much as one million tonnes of the gas annually. The first, the Boundary Dam facility attached to a coal-fired power plant in Saskatchewan, was commissioned in October.

"In order for this technology to be advanced, collaboration will be needed," Cameron Yost, a spokesman for Shell, said in a statement.

"This concept has been central to the Quest project and our work with the Department of Energy is an extension of Shell's efforts to progress CCS through collaboration and knowledge sharing."

The Canadian government, which has put C$120 million ($95.6 million) into the Quest project, welcomed the Department of Energy's move. Canada and the U.S. continue to spar over the Keystone XL pipeline project, which President Obama said he will not approve if it significantly raised greenhouse-gas emissions.

"Today's announcement is welcome news for North American energy cooperation and integration," Greg Rickford, Canada's minister of natural resources, said in a statement. ($1 = 1.2551 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Scott Haggett. Editing by Andre Grenon)