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Canada’s largest oil sands producers announce net-zero alliance

IPIECA members Cenovus Energy and Suncor Energy along with Canadian Natural Resources, Imperial, and MEG Energy have formally announced the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative, whose members collectively operate ~90% of Canada’s oil sands production.

The goal of this unique alliance - which will work closely with the federal and Alberta governments - is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands operations by 2050. The launch of the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative follows recent Canadian government announcements to support programmes for emissions reduction projects and infrastructure.

The Pathways vision is anchored by a major carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) trunkline connected to a carbon sequestration hub, which would also be available for multi-sector ‘tie-in’ projects for expanded emissions reductions. The proposed CCUS system is similar to the Northern Lights CCUS  project in Norway, whose JV partners include IPIECA members Equinor, Shell and Total, and which also involves significant collaboration between industry and government.

Recognising there is no single solution to achieving net zero emissions, the initiative incorporates a number of parallel pathways to address GHG emissions, including:

  • The anchor Alberta infrastructure corridor linking oil sands facilities in the Fort McMurray and Cold Lake regions to a carbon sequestration hub near Cold Lake via a CO2 trunkline. The trunkline would also be available to other industries in the region interested in capturing and sequestering CO2.
  • Deploying existing and emerging GHG reduction technologies at oil sands operations along the corridor, including CCUS technology, clean hydrogen, process improvements, energy efficiency, fuel switching and electrification.
  • Evaluating, piloting and accelerating application of potential emerging emissions reducing technologies including direct air capture, next-generation recovery technologies and small modular nuclear reactors.

The Pathways initiative, by developing an actionable approach to address GHG emissions from Canada’s oil sands industry, will also preserve more than C$3 trillion in estimated oil sands contribution to Canada’s gross domestic product over the next 30 years. The initiative will create jobs and accelerate development of Canada’s clean tech sector.

‘This collaborative effort amongst oil sands peers shows our serious commitment to global climate leadership,’ said Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus President and CEO. ‘We are doing more than just talking about the need to play a role – we are taking bold action to address our emissions challenge and earn our spot as the supplier of choice to meet the world’s growing demand for energy.’

‘Collaboration among companies, innovators and governments is critical to achieving ambitious goals. That’s how we built a budding oil sands resource into one of the world’s most reliable and ESG-leading oil basins in the world,’ said Mark Little, Suncor President and Chief Executive Officer. ‘Canada - as one of the few jurisdictions with industrial-scale commercial CCUS projects in operation -- coupled with Alberta’s abundant natural gas resources, geology and relevant technological expertise - is well positioned to lead in this area.’

Click here for more details on the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative.

 


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