Q & A

Below are answers to a selection of Frequently Asked Questions about the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL.) This is intended to provide accurate and relevant information regarding the ACTL.

What is the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL)?

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) is Alberta’s first large-scale, commercial Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project and will store more CO2 than any other CCS project 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 and gas 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 by-product.

What does the project involve?

The ACTL project will consist of constructing a pipeline distribution system that will encompass drying and compression facilities at the north end in the Industrial Heartland; delivery facilities at the south end of the system, which will distribute the CO2 to conventional oil and gas fields in the area; and a high vapor pressure pipeline between the source and the delivery points.

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 and Storage (CCS) network. Over time, lateral legs extending south, west and east will allow for multiple entry points that will gather CO2 from the entire central Alberta catchment area.

Where will the CO2 come from?

The initial supply of high purity CO2 will come from North West Redwater Partnership’s bitumen refinery and from Agrium Inc., a fertilizer company, both located just outside of Redwater.

How much CO2 will be stored?

The system is initially licensed to gather, compress and store 15,000 tonnes of carbon per day and at full capacity will gather, compress and store 40,000 tonnes of carbon per day. The environmental impact at full capacity will be the equivalent to removing every car in Alberta off the road annually.

What are the benefits of using CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)?

What sets the ACTL apart from other Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects is that the collected CO2 will not simply be stored indefinitely; it will be injected into depleted oil reservoirs for EOR. This process will result in over 1 billion barrels of carbon-efficient fossil fuel and an additional environmentally responsible supply of energy. This will translate into more than $15 billion in royalties for the Province.

Where is the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) project located?

The first EOR project to be implemented will occur at Clive, Alberta. Enhance bought the Clive field in September 2013, and the captured CO2 will be used for enhanced oil recovery resulting in creased recovery of up to 15% of the original oil.

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 Agrium and NWR sites, transportation and storage of CO2 by Enhance. The total capital and operating costs of the project over a ten year period are estimated to be $1.2Billion. The Government of Alberta is providing $495MM and the Government of Canada is providing $63MM to the integrated project.

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.

The Government of Alberta funding is provided in stages. 40% is provided during construction, 20% when commercial operations has been achieved and the remaining 40% over a ten year period based on performance of CO2 injection. If commercial operations is not achieved the funding is repaid.

As the focus on the reduction of carbon emissions grows, CCS is the key to the continued development of Alberta’s vast energy resources. The funding is the key to balancing a robust economy driven by the world’s energy demands with the need to reduce the footprint of fossil energy production.

Is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) the only answer to reducing emissions in Alberta?

CCS is not the only answer to reducing Alberta's emissions, but because it physically withdraws CO2 from the atmospheric emissions of heavy industry, it has the greatest potential to dramatically reduce emissions in the near term. This will allow Alberta and Canada to meet new emission regulations without debilitating the economy.

What are the specific socio-economic benefits of the ACTL?

The ACTL will 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 believed 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 education, essential services, health care, infrastructure, social programs, and transportation.

Construction of the pipeline will create 2,000 direct jobs 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 in the pipeline 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 an estimated 100 registered CO2 floods worldwide producing approximately 250,000 barrels per day (2006) 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 already in the rock formation and it may combine chemically with the rocks trapping the CO2 even more securely.

The CO2 is stored approximately 1 kilometer below the earth’s surface, where reservoirs previously held oil and gas for millions of years. This is well below aquifers and drinking water sources so there is no chance of contamination.

Storing CO2 in empty 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 injected over 600 million tonnes of CO2.

Status of the ACTL

Enhance Energy has received its regulatory approval to build the pipeline, and acquired 100% of its Right of Way (ROW). Procurement is underway with 70% of all goods and services being accessed in Alberta.

Would this project have proceeded without Government assistance?

Initially a small pipeline and EOR project was envisioned. With Government assistance we have been able to build a much bigger system that can accommodate all emitters and provide access to multiple EOR sites. This project would not have proceeded without Government financial assistance. Infrastructure is being built in a similar way to building highways provide transportation infrastructure for multiple businesses.