Shell Canada carbon capture likely last to get Alberta subsidies

Thu Nov 5, 2015 4:01pm EST
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By Mike De Souza

CALGARY, Alberta Nov 5 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell's launch on Friday of Canada's first oil sands project to capture and bury carbon emissions - assisted by generous public subsidies - will likely be the last to get such funding, the Alberta government said this week.

The left-leaning New Democratic government of the energy-rich Western Canadian province, home to the country's controversial oil sands, said it no longer plans to fund future efforts using the technology.

"We intend to evaluate all options for reducing greenhouse gases - like transit, energy efficiency ... with an eye to the greatest return on investment," Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said in an email on Tuesday.

The New Democrats had pledged to improve the province's climate change record after winning an election in May that ended 44 years of Conservative rule.

Shell Canada said it completed the C$1.3 billion ($987.92 million) Quest project at its Scotford upgrader under budget and can now capture about a third of its carbon dioxide emissions, comparable to the annual emissions from 250,000 cars.

The project, located northeast of the provincial capital of Edmonton, was built in partnership with Chevron Corp.

The upgrader, which converts bitumen from two oil sands mines into synthetic crude oil, will now pipe the CO2 through a 65-km (40-mile) route before burying it in saline aquifers more than 2 km underground.

Environmental groups often criticize the oil sands - natural deposits of heavy oil - noting the industry is Canada's fasting growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.   Continued...