Shell to press on with green flagship

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Royal Dutch Shell said yesterday it will go ahead with its planned Quest carbon capture and storage project in order to cut carbon-dioxide emissions at its 255,000 barrel per day Scotford oil sands upgrader near Edmonton, Alberta, by more than a third.

The company said in a statement the facility will capture more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and inject it two kilometres (1.2 miles) underground.

The project would be the first of its kind for the oil sands, the world’s third-largest crude reserve behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia

Oil sands projects, particularly upgraders that convert bitumen stripped from the sands into synthetic crude oil, emit millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and carbon-capture projects are seen as a way to improve their environmental performance.

Shell said the Quest project will the first that it designs, builds and operates and will be at the centre of the company’s carbon-capture and storage research for its global operations.

“We are helping to advance CCS technology on a number of fronts around the world, but Quest will be our flagship project,” Peter Voser, Shell’s chief executive, said.

Shell has not said how much it expects the project, which will be operating late in 2015, will cost. The governments of Alberta and Canada are contributing £551.3m to the project.

The Scotford upgrader is part of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project. Shell has a 60 per cent stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, which includes mining operations and the upgrader.