Understanding Carbon Dioxide (CO₂)

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

Offsetting the Carbon Footprint – CCUS

A 2019 Special Report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that carbon capture, utilization and storage (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.

CCUS is a multi-staged, integrated process that offers meaningful environmental and economic benefits. CCUS involves capturing and compressing the CO2 from 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 decarbonizing our energy supply and a powerful tool to prevent CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.

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CO2

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

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Capture

CO2 Capture is the process of separating, purifying and compressing CO2 to create a valuable and usable product. Separation and purification of CO2 may require distinct processes, as is the case in coal-fired power generation or refinery sources (such as NWR). In order to reach ACTL standards, CO2 entering the line must be water-free and a minimum of 95% CO2 purity. However, some industries such as fertilizer production may create a pure CO2 stream. Once the stream is 95% pure and free of water, it is compressed for transport to the EOR operation.

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Utilization

CO2 is Utilized in an 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.

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Storage

The selected reservoir has  demonstrated 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 in the management, injection and tracking of 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 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
Increased oil recovery, royalties and job creation provide value to the EOR operator, the province and its citizens

CCUS Resources

For more information on CCUS, please visit:
International Energy Agency – What is CCUS?
CO2 Capture Project (CCP)