Spectra Energy today announced plans to pursue a large-scale integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) project near its existing Fort Nelson natural gas plant in northeast British Columbia (BC).
The project represents a partnership between Spectra Energy and the provincial government in BC which has provided a $3.4 million grant to help fund an initial feasibility phase, intended to determine whether deep underground saline reservoirs and associated infrastructure in the area are appropriate for CCS.
"Addressing the challenge of climate change requires a commitment of both government and the private sector to innovation and deploying new technologies," said Doug Bloom, president, Spectra Energy Transmission West. "We believe carbon capture and storage technology holds real promise in providing a safe and effective means of reducing greenhouse gases and addressing climate change."
"We're excited to work in partnership with the Province to build on Spectra Energy's existing experience with CCS and to explore the feasibility of a large-scale project at our Fort Nelson plant," said Bloom.
"As part of the BC Energy Plan, we said our government will explore new technologies for safe, underground sequestration of carbon dioxide from oil and gas facilities -- or CCS -- which is exactly what Spectra Energy proposes to do," said the Honourable Richard Neufeld, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. "If the exploratory drilling program achieves good results, Spectra Energy's project has the potential to deliver major CO2 reductions for BC."
During the initial phase of the project -- which will evaluate geological, technical and economic feasibility -- Spectra Energy will drill two test wells to determine whether surrounding geology is suitable for the permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S). These compounds are present in the raw natural gas produced in the area and removed during processing at the company's Fort Nelson gas plant.
"While there is a significant amount of research and development required, our initial work has identified two potentially suitable saline reservoirs -- over two kilometers underground -- which may be suitable for large-scale CCS," said Gary Weilinger, vice president, strategic development and external affairs, Spectra Energy Transmission West. "If proven viable, we believe the project has the potential to capture and store in the range of one million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually -- the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road each year."
Spectra Energy has been recognized by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a world leader in CCS technology. Currently, four of Spectra Energy's gas processing facilities in BC, and four in Alberta, are equipped with CCS technology. Together, these facilities remove about 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere each year.