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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Quest one year on

The GHGT-13 plenary session on Wednesday 16th November opened with an upbeat assessment of the Quest CO2 storage demonstration site in the Canadian province of Alberta. Tim Wiwchar, who is Shell Canada's Portfolio Manager Heavy Oil, presented a summary of the progress since this flagship project started operating in November 2015. Quest was built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project joint-venture owners Shell Canada Energy (60 %), Chevron Canada Limited (20 %) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20 %). The governments of Alberta and Canada contributed C$745 million and C$120 million respectively to Quest, building on Canada's leadership in CCS deployment.

CO2 is supplied to the site via a 65 km pipeline and then injected into a basal Cambrian sandstone formation. This formation is leased from the government and will be transferred back to it 10 years after injection has ceased. Approximately 1 million tonnes of CO2 is being injected every year and will continue for 25 years in total. This quantity equates to between 7-9% of the estimated storage capacity.

Tim explained that as this project is first of a kind in this part of Canada considered attention has been paid to stakeholder engagement. The Pembina Institute has been brought into the project to advise the operators on how to convey key information to local communities. Shell and the other partners have made notable efforts to listen to the views of the largely rural population many of whom are engaged in agricultural. Issues such as pipeline depth, the impact of brush fires, and ground water supplies have had to be addressed. Community advisory panels were established in 2012 to take on board matters raised by representatives including high-school students. Tim also observed that building a project at this scale has provided valuable experience. Modular construction and good planning has meant that the project was completed on time and has since proved to be highly reliable. 

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