Frequently Asked Questions

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) system is an integrated, large-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) project. Designed as the backbone infrastructure needed to support a lower carbon economy in Alberta, the ACTL system captures industrial emissions and delivers the CO₂ to mature oil and gas reservoirs for use in enhanced oil recovery and permanent storage.  With the world’s largest capacity pipeline for CO₂ from human activity, the ACTL system represents a significant investment in a CO₂ management solution for Alberta’s industrial development.

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What does the Project involve?

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) system is an integrated, large-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) project. Designed as the backbone infrastructure needed to support a lower carbon economy in Alberta, the ACTL system captures industrial emissions and delivers the CO₂ to mature oil and gas reservoirs for use in enhanced oil recovery and permanent storage.  With the world’s largest capacity pipeline for CO₂ from human activity, the ACTL system represents a significant investment in a CO₂ management solution for Alberta’s industrial development.

Where Will The CO₂ Come From?

The ACTL system currently captures CO₂ at the North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien’s Redwater Fertilizer Facility, offering a sustainable emissions solution for energy and agriculture sectors. The CO₂ is safely transported to mature oil fields in Central Alberta for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) before permanent storage.

How much CO₂ will be stored?

The current volume of CO₂ injected and stored is approximately 1.6 million tonnes of CO₂ per year. Designed with excess capacity to move 14.6 million tonnes of CO₂  per year, the ACTL system will connect more facilities in the future as demand increases for an effective solution to manage emissions.

What Are The Benefits Of Using CO₂ For Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)?

When a typical barrel of Alberta crude oil is produced, refined and consumed, approximately 0.4 tonnes of CO₂ is emitted into the atmosphere. In contrast, each barrel of EOR oil produced from the Clive reservoir results in 0.3 to 0.7 tonnes of CO₂ being permanently stored, resulting in an ultra-low carbon fossil fuel source, and a unique and environmentally-sustainable development project.

What sets the ACTL system apart from other carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects is that the collected CO₂ is not simply being disposed of and stored indefinitely; it is being utilized for EOR by injection into depleted oil reservoirs before permanent storage. The ACTL system design capacity could result in the recovery of up to 1 billion barrels of ultra low carbon oil, which offers an environmentally-responsible supply of energy. This would be expected to translate into over $15 billion in additional royalties for the Province of Alberta.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that CCUS technologies may be required to contribute 15% to 30% of the necessary emission reductions by the year 2100 to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accord.

How Much Government Funding Did The ACTL System Receive?

The project partners are recipients of government funding support based on milestone achievements.

The Government of Alberta funding of up to $495 Million from the Carbon Capture Fund was accessible based on milestone achievements complete, 40% during construction, 20%  with the achievement of commercial operations which was achieved in Spring 2020 and the remaining 40% as CO₂ is injected.

The Government of Canada funding of $63.3 Million was provided under two funds – the ecoEnergy Technology Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund – both of which were provided during the construction phase.

Is Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) the Only Answer to Reducing Emissions in Alberta?

As the focus on the reduction of carbon emissions grows, utilizing CCS and CCUS is an important factor to allow the continued development of Alberta’s vast energy resources. While other emissions reduction strategies remain important, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that there is no solution that will result in achieving the COP21 carbon reduction goals that does not include CCS and CCUS.

Is EOR Safe?

Yes. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) – the process of extracting oil from depleted reservoirs using captured CO₂ – has been used throughout North America for nearly 50 years. The first CO₂ flood took place in 1972 in Scurry County, Texas.

Depleted oil and gas reservoirs are secure storage spaces for CO₂. Each storage site is studied and monitored to ensure there is no possibility of leakage. Over time, the injected CO₂ will dissolve in water contained in the rock formation and a portion will combine chemically with the rocks trapping the CO₂ even more securely.

The CO₂ at Clive is stored approximately 2 kilometers below the earth’s surface, where reservoirs previously held oil and gas for tens of millions of years. This is well below fresh water aquifers and drinking water sources, resulting in no chance of contamination.

Storing CO₂ in depleted reservoirs is proven to be safe. The Weyburn-Midale CO₂ Project in Saskatchewan has safely injected over 30 million tonnes of CO₂ to date. The US EOR industry has safely injected over 800 million tonnes of CO₂.

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