The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, a major carbon capture project, is now full operational, according to the North West Redwater Partnership.
The system is part of the NWR Sturgeon Refinery, a bitumen refinery which itself only became fully operational earlier this spring.
“Building from the ground up enabled us to create a refinery that captures about 70 per cent of all our CO2 emissions,” Kerry Margetts, the president of the NWR Partnership, said on Tuesday.
The NWR Partnership said the Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien’s Redwater Fertilizer Facility capture and compress CO2 before pushing it south down a 240-kilometre pipeline owned by Wolf Midstream before it ends up at a storage reservoir owned by Enhance Energy.
“We’re taking CO2 that would be emitted into the atmosphere and permanently storing it,” said Jeff Pearson, president of Wolf Midstream’s carbon business unit.
“Before it gets permanently stored, we’re using it to create more oil.”
Using the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery could potentially extend the life cycle of an Enhance Energy oilfield for 20 to 30 years, said Kevin Jabusch, the company’s CEO.
According to the NWR Sturgeon Refinery, the system has the ability to transport up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
In 2009, former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach committed hundreds of millions of dollars in provincial support for the project and the federal government offered financial support as well.
On Tuesday, Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage tweeted that she was pleased to see the carbon capture project become fully operational.
“Once again, Alberta leads the way with game-changing innovation that strengthens our reputation as a responsible energy producer,” she tweeted.
“Alberta’s got the opportunity now, given the infrastructure is in the ground, to become a global world leader in carbon sequestering,” Margetts said.
–With files from Global News’ Tom Vernon