Is the passion for carbon capture and storage waning in Canada?

Letters CCS nevertheless remain on the lips of the oil companies. A conference devoted entirely to this subject also opens Tuesday in Edmonton. Another called Energy Disruptors in Calgary devotes a round table to technology.

But the projects are progressing more slowly than expected, admits the head of climate policy at Suncor, Martha Hall Findlay. The company has a massive carbon capture and storage project in conjunction with five other oil companies in the alliance Pathways.

To move forward, this alliance needs more financial and political support from the federal and provincial governments.

It’s not just a question of the will to reduce emissions as soon as possible, but to build the infrastructure we need, it takes a long time in Canadashe explains.

This summer, the United States put a little more pressure on the demands of Canadian companies. President Joe’s Environmental Reform Bidenadopted in mid-August, increased financial incentives for development projects CCS south of the border.

American competition

The ton of sequestered CO2 went from $50 to $85. The tax credit for direct atmospheric capture has been increased to $180 per ton of CO2. Even projects that use carbon dioxide to recover oil get a tax credit of $60 a tonne.

On the contrary, this type of use of technology is not included in the tax credit announced by the Canadian government. The tax credit, which is still the subject of consultation, will only apply to the cost of setting up the infrastructure.

There is much more certainty and clarity in the United Statesabstract Heather Leaheyvice-president in the research team of the firm Enverus. In Canada, the puzzle is in several pieces that work together, but are also more riskyshe says.

Analysts say US environmental reform has made clear President Joe Biden’s support for carbon sequestration technology.

Photo: Getty Images/Michael M. Santiago

Associate Director of Energy at EY Canada and participating in the conference Energy Disruptors Lance Mortlock compares American and Canadian politics to a carrot and stick strategy. CSC alors qu’au Canada, nous utilisons le bâton avec la taxe carbone par exemple”,”text”:”Les États-Unis utilisent plutôt la carotte pour inciter les entreprises à utiliser le CSC alors qu’au Canada, nous utilisons le bâton avec la taxe carbone par exemple”}}”>The United States instead uses the carrot to encourage companies to use the CCS whereas in Canada we use the stick with the carbon tax for examplehe explains.

According to Heather Leahey, this stick does not provide enough certainty for businesses. The concern is that if there is a change of government, there will be a change on the carbon tax. It creates a mixture of hesitation and uncertaintyshe mentions.

The end result, according to Martha Hall Findlay, is that the United States is ahead and Canada is falling behind.

What the federal government has done with the budget is fantastic and an important step, but now we can look at what is being done in the United States. There is a lot of pressure on the federal and provincial government to increase supportshe acknowledges.

Doubts remain

As Canadian companies urge governments to emulate the American approach, voices are being raised to stop public funding of this technology.

Earlier this month, the Australian think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis published a study titled Lcarbon capture: the illusory dream of decarbonization.

Looking at 13 of the biggest projects in CCS around the world, the report shows that the vast majority are not achieving the carbon sequestration targets that these projects have set themselves.

Co-author Bruce Robertson points out that even projects that achieve their goals, such as the Quest of Shell in Canada, produce emissions to capture and sequester emissions, which partially negates the interest of the CCS.

Ultimately, it is a technology that creates emissions, not reduces themhe summarizes. Over the past 50 years it has risen and failed and yet, [les entreprises] still manage to get government support.

He’s not the only one asking for proof that the technology works before seeing millions of dollars of public money invested.

At the beginning of the year, 400 academics asked the federal government not to subsidize the establishment of CCS projects. The British non-governmental organization GlobalWitness also questioned the track record of Shell’s Quest facility.

Martha Hall Findlay

Martha Hall Findlay leads greenhouse gas emissions reduction initiatives at Suncor.

Photo: Radio Canada

Martha Hall Findlay does not believe these demands carry much weight. According to her, the more technology is used, the more it improves and proves its effectiveness.

We know it works, but it’s expensive. This is why we need collaboration with the governmentshe says citing the project Quest. These voices that are negative are less and less important and the federal government supports us.

She stresses that if Canada wants to achieve its climate objectives, it is urgent to act and help companies like hers to set up their project.

Additional details on the investment tax credit will be presented in the economic update in the fall of 2022. The Alberta government did not respond to our questions.

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