CCUS Explained

CCUS is the acronym used when describing ‘Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage’.
Each phase of CCUS is described below.

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (“CCUS”) is the multi-staged, integrated process at the heart of the ACTL Project that offers meaningful environmental and economic benefits for all Albertans. CCUS involves capturing and compressing the CO₂ from fossil fuels sources before, during or after combustion, injecting the CO₂ deep into contained geological formations such as depleted oil and gas fields, where it is permanently and safely stored. CCUS represents one of the most promising solutions for combating climate change and a powerful tool to prevent CO₂ emissions from entering the atmosphere.


Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is a naturally occurring substance made up of carbon and oxygen, emitted through natural carbon cycles as well as through human/industrial activities such as upgrading bitumen, refining, fertilizer manufacturing, electricity generation and petrochemical operations and numerous combustion processes.


CO₂ Capture for the purpose of CO₂ EOR involves a number of steps. First the CO₂ must be purified and separated from other constituents to make the stream free of water and a minimum of 95% CO₂ purity. To create a valuable and useable product the stream must be compressed to a higher pressure and then transported by pipeline to the EOR operation.


CO₂ is Utilized in an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operation through injection into a carefully selected hydrocarbon reservoir via an injection well. This results in unrecovered oil being flushed from the pore spaces of the reservoir rock and being pushed to the producing wells, where it is pumped to the surface and recovered. This produces an incremental quantity of oil that would not be recovered through conventional means.


The selected Storage reservoir has specific geological characteristics that ensure CO₂ is safely and permanently stored deep within the formation, thereby reducing overall CO₂ emissions. Any CO₂ that is produced during the oil recovery operation is immediately reinjected and recycled back into the reservoir such that all injected CO₂ is permanently sequestered.

CCUS Quick Facts

  • CCUS technology is an important tool to help address GHG reduction;
  • CO₂ EOR storage increases oil recovery while reducing carbon emissions;
  • Oil companies possess a long record of know-how to manage, inject and track CO₂, Nitrogen, Methane, and other hydrocarbon gases;
  • Depleted oil fields offer known reservoir capacities and injectivity, and can accept large volumes of CO₂ for enhanced oil production and subsequent storage;
  • Oil fields are proven traps, known to hold oil and gas for millions of years;
  • The CO₂ EOR operation takes place in areas where the public is already accustomed to oil and gas activities;
  • Surface disturbance is minimized because existing infrastructure is used, such as leases, roads and facilities;
  • Purchase of CO₂ by the EOR operator provides value to CO₂ emitters that will encourage additional capture; and
  • Increased oil recovery, royalties and job creation provide value to the EOR operator, the province and its citizens.

CO₂ capture, transportation and storage are well understood and have been utilized for decades in North America. There is nearly 50 years of experience with injected CO₂ for enhanced oil recovery in the continental U.S. In Canada and the U.S., established projects are already storing CO₂ in saline formations, oil and gas reservoirs, and coal seams. There are also many international projects that span the globe from Australia to Norway.

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