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World’s first certificate of fitness for safe CO2 storage

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Calgary: DNV awards the first certificate of fitness for safe CO2 storage to Shell’s Quest Carbon capture and Storage project.

DNV has issued the world’s first certificate of fitness for a carbon dioxide (CO2) storage development plan to Shell’s Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project. The proposed Quest project will capture and permanently store underground more than one million tonnes of CO2 per year from its Scotford Upgrader, located near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

DNV, together with industry and governments, has recently developed recommended guidelines and best practices for CO2 geological storage selection and risk assessment, and were commissioned by Shell to coordinate a comprehensive review to assess the suitability of the Quest project’s underground storage formation to safely and permanently store injected CO2. The review also assessed the project’s measurement, monitoring and verification program to validate that it would provide the necessary rigor to demonstrate effective containment. DNV assembled a panel of seven CCS experts from academia and research institutions to perform the review over a two-week period.

“Through developing guidelines and standards for CCS in collaboration with governments and industry, DNV has taken an instrumental role towards paving the way for safe and cost-effective deployment of CCS, ” Jørg Aarnes, Principal Consultant, DNV says. “But while regulations, guidelines and standards may help clarify the rules of the game, the main challenge is demonstrating compliance with these rules. The expert panel validation of the Quest storage development plan is a first of its kind in the world and provides independent assurance to stakeholders that CO2 storage will be safely and responsibly managed.”

“The DNV certification is important because it provides third-party validation that our project meets rigorous storage standards, ” says Ian Silk, Shell’s Quest Venture Manager. “It also helps to confirm the capability and capacity of the Basal Cambrian Sands storage formation that we will be injecting into. Proving up this saline formation for storage, which underlies a good portion of the province of Alberta, is imperative to enable the future CCS projects that will be required to help the government achieve its targeted CO2 reductions.”

CCS technology represents an opportunity to reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions from large point sources (e.g. coal and gas-fired power plants, oil sands/bitumen processing refineries, iron and steel mills, cement factories, etc.) and has the potential to make a significant contribution to worldwide efforts to mitigate climate change. The experience gained through the early implementation of large-scale CCS projects, such as Quest, are essential to develop the capability to enable industrial facilities to implement CCS technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Evaluating the suitability for CO2 storage
CCS operators must perform extensive analysis and data collection to assess, validate and provide assurance to regulators and stakeholders that a particular set of geological formations is suitable for CO2 storage. Evidence must be provided to show that injected volumes of purified CO2 will be isolated and retained in the geological formations and that any associated risk to the environment is carefully managed through a tailored monitoring and verification program.

Validation of the Quest storage development plan
Validation of CO2 storage sites is a significant challenge because it requires a thorough understanding of the local geology and the behaviour that carbon dioxide exhibits when injected deep underground. Based on the conclusions of the expert panel DNV certified that Shell’s Storage Development Plan is fit for purpose based upon a number of different metrics, such as: sufficient storage capacity, long-term containment, proper risk management plans, and a measurement, monitoring and verification program capable of continuously demonstrating containment.

About Quest
The Quest Project is being advanced on behalf of the the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), a joint venture among Shell Canada (60 per cent) Chevron Canada Limited (20 per cent) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20 per cent). The Quest Project will be the first CCS project to be implemented at an oil sands operation. Quest will capture more than one million tonnes of CO2 per year from the Scotford Upgrader (equivalent to the emissions from 175, 000 cars) and transport it by an 80-km underground pipeline to an injection site north of the Upgrader. Here it will be injected more than two kilometres underground into a porous rock formation called the Basal Cambrian Sands, beneath multiple layers of impermeable rock. For more informaton on Quest, visit www.shell.ca

About Royal Dutch Shell plc
Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges. Shell companies have operations in more than 90 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects. For further information on Royal Dutch Shell, visit www.shell.com

About the DNV Panel Members
The DNV review panel members comprised:

Rick Chalaturnyk, Professor, Geotechnical Engineering, University of Alberta
Ernie Perkins, Principal Researcher, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures and Senior Advisor – Storage (NA), Global CCS Institute
Steve Whittaker, Senior Advisor – Storage Exploration & Characterization / MMV Global CCS Institute
Dave Risk, Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences, St. Francis Xavier University
Don Lawton, Professor, Geophysics, University of Calgary
Ben Rostron, Professor, Hydrogeology, University of Alberta
George Sherk, Chief Operating Officer of IPAC CO2 (International Performance Assessment Centre for Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide)

The above article was written by Blaine E. Collins

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