Frequently Asked Questions

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) is Alberta’s first large-scale, commercial Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) project and will have the capacity to transport more anthropogenic CO₂ (CO₂ that originates from human activity) than any other project of its type in the world. The project represents a significant investment in a CO₂ management solution for Alberta’s industrial development. Captured CO₂ will be stored in depleted oil fields for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), kick-starting an innovative new industry of converting a waste product of the oil sands and other industries into a valuable commodity.

The ACTL project consists of CO₂ capture facilities in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and a 240-kilometer long pipeline system capable of receiving large volumes of CO₂ and transporting them to oil fields throughout central Alberta. The first leg of the pipeline has been approved and will connect to an EOR field near Clive, Alberta. Once fully operational, the first phase of the ACTL project would capture and store more than 1.5 million tonnes of CO₂ per year.

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What does the Project involve?

The ACTL project will consist of capture and compressions facilities at the north end in the Industrial Heartland and a high vapor pressure pipeline transportation system to deliver CO2 to Enhanced Oil Recovery fields at the south end of the system.

The initial leg of the ACTL will be 240 kilometers in length and the pipe will be 40.6 centimeters (16 inches) in diameter. This represents the backbone of Alberta’s Carbon Capture network. Over time, additional lateral legs are expected to allow for multiple entry points that will gather CO₂ from additional CO2 sources in the Industrial Heartland or elsewhere.

Where Will The CO₂ Come From?

The initial supply of high purity CO₂ will come from North West Redwater Partnership’s Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien Ltd.’s fertilizer manufacturing operation, both located just outside of Redwater, Alberta.

How much CO₂ will be stored?

Initial volumes are anticipated to be 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes per day of CO2 with future increases expected through a pipeline system licensed to transport up to 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per day.   The environmental impact at full pipeline capacity of 40,000 tonnes per day will be the equivalent to removing every passenger car from Alberta roads.

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

What sets the ACTL Project apart from other Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects is that the collected CO₂ will not simply be disposed of and stored indefinitely; it will be utilized for EOR by injection into depleted oil reservoirs. The pipeline system has the capacity to transport CO2 that could result in the recovery of up to 1 billion barrels of ultra low carbon oil, which represents an incremental 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.

Where Is The Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Project Located?

The first EOR project to be implemented will occur at Clive, Alberta. Enhance is the owner and operator of the Clive field, where the captured CO₂ will be injected and used for enhanced oil recovery resulting in recovery of an additional 15-20% of the original oil in place in the reservoir.

What Is The Cost Of The Project And How Much Government Funding Do You Receive?

The first EOR project to be implemented will occur at Clive, Alberta. The integrated ACTL project encompasses the purification of CO₂ by North West Redwater Partnership and the capture of CO₂ at both the Nutrien and NWR sites, compression and transportation by Wolf and utilization and storage of CO₂ by Enhance. The total capital and operating costs of the project over a ten year period are estimated to be over $1.2 Billion over that same period of time. The Project Partners in the ACTL Project are receiving funding of up to $496 MM from Government of Alberta the $63 MM from the Government of Canada.

The Government of Alberta funding is provided in stages, 40% during construction, 20% when commercial operations has been achieved and the remaining 40% over a ten year period based on performance of CO₂ injection.

The Government of Canada funding is provided under two funds – the ecoEnergy Technology Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund – both of which are provided during the construction phase of the project.

Is Carbon Capture, Transportation, 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.

At full capacity of 14.6 million tonnes per year, the ACTL Project has the potential to achieve over 50% of the oil and gas emissions reduction targets set out by the Province of Alberta in its Climate Leadership Plan between now and 2030.

What Are The Specific Socio-Economic Benefits Of The ACTL?

The ACTL will help to manage the industrial carbon problem associated with the oil sands while propelling the economic growth of Alberta. By using captured CO₂ for enhanced oil recovery, it is expected that the project will produce up to $15 billion worth of royalties to the Province. All Albertans will benefit from the royalties and taxes the ACTL project will generate in the form of jobs, education, essential services, health care, infrastructure, social programs, and transportation.

Construction of the ACTL Project with volumes flowing at capacity are expected to create 2,000 jobs and peak construction and in the range of 8,000 indirect employment opportunities in central Alberta. These jobs will be heavily concentrated in rural Alberta and offer an economic lifeline for these communities.

The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) conducted a study of the ACTL and estimated that with 25,000 tonnes per day of CO₂ moving in the pipeline being utilized for CO₂ EOR over a 30 year period, 307,000 person years of employment would be generated.

Is The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line and EOR Project Safe?

Yes. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) – the process of extracting oil from depleted reserves using captured CO₂ – has been used throughout North America for over 30 years. The first CO₂ flood took place in 1972 in Scurry County, Texas. Today, there are well over 136 registered CO₂ floods worldwide producing approximately 300,000 barrels per day of oil.

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 has been proven to be safe. The Weyburn-Midale CO₂ Project in Saskatchewan has safely injected over 16 million tonnes of CO₂ to date. The US EOR industry has safely injected over 600 million tonnes of CO₂.

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Explore the Route

The ACTL pipeline will ship CO₂ volumes from Alberta’s Industrial Heartland north of Edmonton to the Clive oil processing and gas compression facility site located over 200 km south.

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