This past March marked the 20th anniversary of a meeting of scientists and engineers in Amsterdam to discuss the hopes for the soon-to-be much-hyped idea of capturing industrial greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering them underground to fight climate change.
These days, the scientists and engineers have been joined by government ministers and energy industry executives the world over.
Having spent billions of dollars to advance carbon capture and storage, there’s still considerable debate whether CCS is a saviour or a boondoggle.
If Calgarians missed it amid all the revelry of the 100th anniversary of the Stampede and Shaw’s protracted Internet outage last week, Alberta’s oil and gas regulator approved Shell Canada’s proposal for its $1.35-billion Quest CCS project that’s the first linked to an oilsands development.
Shell, unquestionably an industry leader in advancing innovation and technology, effectively responded: “OK, that’s great. We’ll think about.”
Simply put, the businesscase viability of CCS remains a board-level concern.
Shell will review the project economics with its partners, Chevron Canada and Marathon Oil, before deciding whether to proceed later this year. Quest includes $745 million from the Alberta government over 15 years and $120 million from Ottawa’s Clean Energy fund.
Even with all the taxpayer support, it’s no sure bet.