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

Letters CCS are still on the lips of the oil companies. A conference devoted entirely to this subject also opens Tuesday in Edmonton. In Calgary, another, called Energy Disruptors, devotes a round table to this technology.

However, 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.

Le problème, pour construire l’infrastructure dont nous avons besoin, cela prend beaucoup de temps au Canada”,”text”:”La question n’est pas seulement de vouloir réduire les émissions le plus vite possible.Le problème, pour construire l’infrastructure dont nous avons besoin, cela prend beaucoup de temps au Canada”}}”>The question is not just about wanting to reduce emissions as quickly as possible. The problem, to build the infrastructure that we need, it takes a long time in Canadasays Martha Hall Findlay.

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 price per tonne of sequestered CO2 has gone from $50 to $85. The tax credit for direct atmospheric capture has been increased to $180 per tonne 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 provided for in the tax credit announced by the Canadian government. The tax credit, which is still the subject of consultations, will apply only to the costs 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 made up of several pieces that work together, but are also more risky.

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, who is attending 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, the latter does not offer enough certainty to businesses. If there is a change of government, there will be a change in the carbon tax. It creates a mixture of hesitation and uncertaintyshe mentions.

Martha Hall Findlay says this situation has resulted in the United States getting a head start, while 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 Carbon capture : the illusory dream of decarbonization.

Examining 13 of the most important projects of CCS around the world, the report shows that the vast majority are not achieving the carbon sequestration targets that these projects have set themselves.

Bruce Robertson, one of the study’s co-authors, 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 is not alone in demanding proof that the technology works before millions of dollars of public money is invested in it.

At the beginning of the year, 400 academics asked the federal government not to subsidize the establishment of CCS. 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 efforts 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. Those 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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