Oilpatch plan to cut Canada's greenhouse gases by 13%

January 10, 2008
First-ever Oil Sands Mine Environmental Report Card Reveals Weak Environmental Performance

Today, Pembina Institute and WWF-Canada released Under-Mining The Environment, The Oil Sands Report Card – the most comprehensive comparative assessment of 10 of Alberta’s operating, approved or applied for oil sands mines. The mines, for the most part, get a failing grade.
Key findings of the report card include:

  • While the majority of oil sands operations have comprehensive environmental policies in place, only two companies provided evidence of having an independently-accredited environmental management system such as ISO 14001.
  • With the exception of the existing Albian Muskeg River Mine, no operation has voluntary targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
  • No project or company has publicly-reported targets to reduce water usage from the Athabasca River.
  • Despite more than 40 years of oil sands development, not a single hectare of land has been certified as reclaimed under Government of Alberta guidelines. More

December 3, 2007
Seems like the oil companies have ‘got religion’, but only with government assistance. But who are we to quibble when this sounds like a step in the right direction.

Alliance of 15 energy companies calls for government aid in capture-and-store project that will cost ‘billions’
Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post
December 03, 2007

CALGARY — An alliance of 15 Canadian oilsands [that’s tar sands in non-PR-speak] and power companies is proposing a multi-billion dollar plan to capture and store greenhouse gases in what would be the country’s single-largest carbon dioxide reduction initiative.
In a 16-page report released Monday, the Integrated CO2 Network said the total cost for companies with oilsands [tar sands – see above], coal and other energy projects in Canada will be in the “billions.” Some carbon dioxide reductions could start by 2012 and eventually may cut annual emissions by as much as 100 megatonnes, or about 13% of Canada’s current total, according to the report.
“Canada has a unique opportunity in the world to capitalize on the geology of the western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to effect large scale [carbon capture and storage],” says the report, released on the group’s Web site. “The WCSB provides not only significant amounts of CO2 emissions as a function of hydrocarbon development but also reservoirs in relative proximity with vast potential to store CO2.”
Among the participants in the so-called ICON group are Imperial Oil Ltd., Canada’s largest oil company; Syncrude Canada Ltd., the country’s biggest oilsands producer; and TransAlta Corp., Canada’s largest publicly owned power producer.
But the group says the economics of carbon capture and storage implementation “are complex and a clear understanding of the technology, costs and supply/demand pricing dynamics is needed in designing appropriate, robust policies to grow CCS over the long-term.”
It calls on government to take a role in developing the plan. “Close co-operation between industry and government is needed in CCS design, funding, and policies to support this transformative environmental initiative,” the report says.
Carbon capture and storage involves containing greenhouse gases at the source and piping them into empty oil and gas reservoirs, in which they would be stored for good or used to revive production in maturing fields. Viewed as a solution to global warming, the application is still in its infancy because it’s expensive, requires a lot of co-ordination between multiple stakeholders and requires the right geology, experts say.

See also:
Shifting sands: Canada, the world and the oil sands
Oil Notes on wednesday-night.com

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