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Shell announces launch of Quest carbon capture and storage

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On 6 November Shell announced the official opening of the Quest carbon capture and storage (CSS) project in Alberta, Canada, and the start of commercial operations. Quest has been designed to capture and safely store more than one million t of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year – equal to the emissions from approximately 250 000 cars. Quest has been able to advance through the strong collaboration between the public and private sectors aimed at advancing CSS globally.

As part of it’s funding agreement, Shell is publically sharing information on Quest processes and design in order to further global adoption of CCS. Quest improves on the techniques used by the energy industry for decades and integrates the components of CCS for the large scale capture, transport and storage of CO2. CCS stands alone as one of the only technologies that can significantly reduce carbon emissions from the industrial sectors of the economy.

Speaking at the official opening, Shell’s Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said: "Quest represents a significant milestone in the successful design, construction and use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology on a commercial scale. Quest is a blueprint for future CCS projects globally. Together with government and joint venture partners, we are sharing the knowhow to help make CCS technologies more accessible and cost effective for the energy industry and other key industrial sectors of the economy.”

Quest will capture one third of the emissions from Shell’s Scotford Upgrader, which turns oil sands bitumen into synthetic crude that can be refined into fuel and other products. The CO2 is then transported through a 65 km pipeline and injected more than 2 km underground below several layers of impermeable rock formations. Quest can now operate on a commercial scale after testing earlier this year proved it captured and stored more than 200 000 t of CO2.

Quest was built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project joint venture owners Shell Canada Energy (60%), Chevron Canada Limited (20%) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20%) with the strong support from the governments of Alberta and Canada who provided CAN$865 million in funding.

Though support has come in more forms than monetary. Collaboration will continue through Quest between Shell and various parties in an effort to bring down future costs of CCS projects globally. This includes cooperation with the US Department of Energy, and the British government on research at the Quest site.

“The secondment from the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute to the Quest CCS project is an example of British and Canadian cooperation in cutting edge low-carbon technologies,” said Howard Drake, British High Commissioner to Canada. “This research-focused partnership will help to develop CCS expertise on both sides of the Atlantic in an effort to advance the innovative solutions demonstrated at Quest.”

Shell initiated public consultation in 2008, two years before submitting a regulatory application, because it felt support from the local community was essential to building Quest.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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