In November 2015, Shell Scotford officially celebrated the startup of Shell’s Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project. Though in operation for months, the valve turning ceremony (in place of a traditional ribbon cutting) included provincial politicians and top-level Shell leadership. It also highlighted the fact that Quest is the world’s first commercial CCS project associated with a heavy oil facility.

The CCS process captures CO2 from sources like fossil fuel power plants and deposits it into underground geological formations. This prevents it from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Believing this a path to cleaner hydrocarbon energy, the federal and Alberta provincial governments contributed $860M to the Shell Quest project.

The International Energy Agency has stated that CCS technologies may deliver 17 per cent of the world’s required CO2 reductions by 2050. By 2100, the technology could deliver half of our needed emissions reductions. Quest has the capacity to capture one million tonnes of CO2 annually for the next 25 years, and its launch signals an increasing hydrocarbon energy industry focus on technologies that mitigate climate change.

Cybertech is proud of our work as the main automation contractor for the Quest project, both within the Scotford Upgrader scope as well as pipeline/injection well controls and automation. We also participated in commissioning and startup of the main plant, the hydrogen making units (HMUs), the CO2 pipeline and associated well sites. Since 2011, we were a key project partner with nearly 40 Cybertech employees working on the project at varying times.

A strategic project for Shell and the larger industry, Quest demonstrates how traditional automation, controls and engineering experience can see application in new technologies and markets.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden has suggested that global carbon pricing could eventually mean that “companies like [Shell] would feel compelled to capture and store CO2 rather than emit.” Cybertech’s association with the successful launch of Quest positions it as a company ready to support next-generation environmental initiatives.

With content from CityNews/Canadian Press. Article image courtesy Shell video.

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