Pembina Pipeline Corporation and TC Energy Corporation recently announced a plan to jointly develop a world-scale carbon transportation and sequestration system in Alberta. The project’s first phase could be operational as early as 2025, subject to regulatory and environmental approvals.
By utilizing existing pipelines and a new sequestration hub, the Alberta Carbon Grid (ACG) is intended to provide the infrastructure needed for Alberta-based industries to effectively manage emissions and contribute positively to Alberta’s lower-carbon economy. When fully constructed the system will have capacity to transport more than 20 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
ACG will be a significant part of Alberta’s emerging carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) initiative, serving multiple industries in the oil sands region, the Alberta industrial heartland northeast of Edmonton, and production in the Drayton Valley area to key sequestration locations and delivery points across the province. As a hub-based infrastructure solution accessible to some of Alberta’s largest industrial emitters, ACG will pave the way for Canada to successfully meet its emissions reduction objectives
The principal segments of the ACG include:
- North leg – with an initial design capacity of up to 40,000 tonnes of CO2 per day, this segment is planned to transport emissions from the oil sands to a sequestration hub location.
- Central leg – up to 20,000 tonnes per day of CO2 from industrial sources in the Heartland region will be moved to a sequestration hub location.
- Southwest leg – up to 20,000 tonnes per day of emissions from power generation will be transported for sequestration.
- Future sections – as customers and sources come on board, there is potential to expand the ACG to locations in central and northeastern Alberta such as Joffre, Christina Lake, Cold Lake or Swan Hills.
Sequestration is a key component of the ACG. A reservoir in the Basal Cambrian Sands formation near Fort Saskatchewan (northeast of Edmonton) has been selected for the first part of the project’s development. Initial studies indicate this reservoir can store more than two million tonnes of CO2, which represents many decades of capacity. In future, the companies envision delivering CO2 to third-party locations, creating a carbon storage hub in the Fort Saskatchewan region.
The ACG presents a number of opportunities and benefits for Alberta and Canada. As demand for sequestration grows, the system can be scaled up to accommodate more than 60,000 tonnes daily, which translates to 20 million tonnes annually – about 10 per cent of Alberta’s current industrial emissions. Additionally, the ACG is meant to be open-access, available to a variety of industrial emitters. Utilizing existing pipelines and infrastructure dramatically reduces environmental disturbance, reduces cost and accelerates the project’s schedule. Finally, the project offers many opportunities for construction and technology development.
Alberta is home to world-leading experts who have the skills and experience to design and operate a safe and reliable CCUS system. The ACG can also become a platform for new innovation and technology to facilitate the production of blue hydrogen and enhance petrochemical applications.