Shell recently announced a proposal to build a large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at our Scotford Complex near Edmonton, providing customers with lower-carbon fuels and products into the future, such as hydrogen.

The proposed project is the largest in a series of low-carbon opportunities Shell is exploring at Scotford. The initial phase is expected to start operations in the middle of the decade, with a permanent underground storage capacity of over 10 million tonnes of CO2 annually and about 300 million tonnes over the life of the project. The final investment decision on the proposal is expected in 2023.

The Polaris CCS project follows the success of Quest CCS, which has captured and safely stored more than six million tonnes of in its six years of operation. Captured CO2 would be transported via pipeline to wells for permanent storage over two kilometres underground, in the same porous rock formation as the Quest CCS facility.

This project would also build on Shell’s recent final investment decision of Northern Lights CCS in Norway and our involvement in Porthos CCS in the Netherlands.

Clean energy, bright future

The initial phase of the Polaris CCS project would capture and store approximately 750,000 tonnes a year of CO2, reducing Shell’s direct and indirect emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) by up to 40% from the refinery and by up to 30% from the chemicals plant. It would also create up to 2,000 jobs.

The second phase of the Polaris CCS project involves the creation of a CO2 storage hub in Alberta, further decarbonising Shell’s facilities and storing emissions on behalf of third-party industry sources as a trusted and reliable CO2 storage operator.

Robin Mooldijk, Shell EVP Manufacturing said, “Polaris represents a major opportunity to help our customers in their quest for decarbonisation. Once the project is approved, it will allow us to significantly reduce the CO2 emitted in the production of the fuels of today and enable the production of lower-carbon fuels of tomorrow.”

Polaris would also contribute to the Edmonton region becoming Canada’s first hydrogen hub. Capturing CO2 from the refinery’s hydrogen plants would produce blue hydrogen, initially for use in the refining process, but with the potential for large-scale blue hydrogen production in future phases. Shell is also exploring the development of additional volumes of blue and green hydrogen at Scotford that leverage Alberta’s abundance of natural gas and availability of renewable sources of power.

The most energy efficient refinery in Canada

Scotford’s transition into a fully integrated energy and chemicals park is anticipated to happen this decade. By building on the site’s leading positions in energy efficiency and CCS, this renewable power will allow Scotford to process new feedstocks such as bio-oils or waste oils to significantly reduce the CO2 emitted in the production of the fuels of today.

Scotford is already the most energy efficient refinery in Canada, using 25% less energy than the average Canadian refinery according to the Solomon Energy Efficiency IndexTM. That 25% of energy savings adds up. In fact, the amount of energy saved would be enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes. Its integrated approach makes it a platform for future opportunities to provide Canadian and global customers with lower-carbon fuels and products, aided by CCS.

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