The refinery at Shell Canada's Scotford project, which will house the Polaris CCS facility. Photo: Shell CanadaClick image to enlargeShell Canada has filed a proposal to build a large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at its Scotford Complex near Edmonton.

This would be a key step in transforming the Scotford facility into one of five energy and chemicals parks for Shell around the world, producing lower-carbon fuels and products such as hydrogen.

The proposed Polaris CCS project will be the largest in a series of low-carbon opportunities Shell is exploring at Scotford. It’s expected to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Shell-owned Scotford refinery and chemicals plant.

The initial phase is expected to start operations in 2025, subject to a final investment decision by Shell expected in 2023. It would have storage capacity of about 300 million tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project.

"Shell is making bold moves to decarbonize our operations, and wider industry, and the Polaris CCS project is the latest example," said Susannah Pierce, Shell Canada president and country chair. "Our plans for Scotford are in line with Shell's target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. We are creating a world-class site that will provide customers with lower-carbon fuels, products and CO2 storage. Polaris would also make a significant contribution to Shell's aim to have access to an additional 25 million tonnes a year of CCS capacity by 2035."

The Polaris CCS project follows the success of the Quest CCS facility—of which Shell is a 10 per cent partner—at the same location, which has captured and stored more than six million tonnes of CO2 in its six years of operation.

"Our government is committed to developing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) to help reduce emissions and capitalize on emerging economic opportunities," said Sonya Savage, Alberta’s minister of energy. "Projects like Shell's Polaris CCS show that Alberta is open for business and our oil and gas industry confidently looks to be a global player in a low-carbon future."

The initial phase of the Polaris CCS project would capture and store approximately 750,000 tonnes a year of CO2 from the Scotford refinery and chemicals plant. It would reduce Shell's direct and indirect emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) by up to 40 per cent from the refinery and by up to 30 per cent from the chemicals plant. It would also create up to 2,000 jobs.

The second phase involves the creation of a CO2 storage hub in Alberta, further decarbonizing Shell's facilities and storing emissions on behalf of third-party industry sources as a trusted and reliable CO2 storage operator.

Shell is also exploring the development of additional volumes of blue and green hydrogen at Scotford that leverage Alberta's abundance of natural gas and availability of renewable sources of power.

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