Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson speaks to the media at the COP15 biodiversity conference Monday, December 12, 2022 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

HAMILTON – On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson made a significant announcement on the carbon capture, utilization and storage front, calling for expressions of interest for research, development and demonstration projects.

He did this from Hamilton, where the federal cabinet was holding a retreat to prepare for the next parliamentary session.

The press release opened with the statement, “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, but it is also our greatest economic opportunity. We are  investing to make Canada a leader in new technologies that will build lower emissions and fight climate change while also creating good jobs and supporting a strong, competitive and resilient economy.”

It said Wilkinson “opened the intake for expressions of interest for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects and related science activities focused on carbon storage and transportation. CCUS technologies help prevent gasses from heavy emitting industries from polluting the air. This results in lower emissions and more good, sustainable jobs.

“Funded under the Energy Innovation Program, RD&D projects and related science activities selected through this intake will help develop permanent geological storage of carbon and technologies that support the safe and efficient transportation of CO2,” the release said.

Wilkinson said, “Many of the technologies needed to reach our goal of net zero by 2050 are still in various stages of development, including decarbonization solutions such as CCUS. The Government of Canada is investing in innovative clean energy RD&D projects to help grow the economy, fight climate change and create good jobs for Canadian workers.”

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The intake is also expected to support planning and development activities for CO2 storage and transportation hubs — addressing technical, scientific or social licence barriers and generating knowledge to support the development of regulatory frameworks, codes and standards.

There was no reference in the release if there was a change in government policy, allowed enhanced oil recovery to be included for these investment tax credits. The 2022 budget specifically excluded enhanced oil recovery.

Currently, Whitecap Resources is working with Federated Co-operatives Ltd. and several other partners to develop a CO2 hub for the Regina and Moose Jaw area, and transporting it to the Weyburn Unit for enhanced oil recovery. Whitecap is also working on two more hubs in Alberta.

The six largest oilsands producers have teamed up to form the Pathways Alliance, which will collect CO from all the major operations in the Fort McMurray area and pipeline them down to the Cold Lake area for geologic injection. Members of the Pathways Alliance include Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips Canada, Imperial Oil, Meg Energy and Suncor. Pathways does not specify enhanced oil recovery, but simply geologic storage.

In 2014, SaskPower activated the Boundary Dam Unit 3 Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Project, which captures CO2 from a coal-fired power unit. While most of that CO2 is pipelined to the Weyburn Unit for enhanced oil recovery, some of it is used in the Petroleum Technology Research Centre administered Aquistore Project. It pumps CO2 directly into a deep saline aquifer, two kilometres west of the power station, and 3.4 kilometres deep. Aquistore is heavily instrumented for several forms of scientific monitoring. It has been operating since 2014.

The federal government said the intake for expressions of interest for storage and transportation RD&D projects and related science activities will remain open until April 17, 2023. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit a full project proposal.

This represents the second intake under the broader CCUS RD&D call for carbon capture RD&D projects launched in July 2022. A third intake for utilization RD&D projects is expected to launch later this year.

“The International Energy Agency has been clear: carbon capture, utilization and storage is an important emissions-reduction technology that can be applied across the energy system. While technology alone is not a solution to climate change, the Government of Canada is committed to accelerating the development of new technologies that will help build a clean energy future while creating economic opportunities for Canadian workers and industries,” the release said.

It continued, “Through Budget 2021, the federal government is investing $319 million in research, development and demonstrations to advance the commercial viability of CCUS technologies. These funds will support businesses, academia, non-profits, government and public laboratories. Additionally, through its 2030 Emission Reduction Plan and Budget 2022, the government reaffirmed its commitment to develop a carbon management strategy for Canada and proposed a refundable investment tax credit valued at $2.6 billion over five years to incentivize the development and adoption of CCUS technology to help industries in their journey to net-zero emissions.”

 

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