A holistic framework for evaluating gigaton scale geological CO2 storage applied to the Alberta oil sands: Physics, policy, and economics Theses uri icon

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  • An increasing number of countries worldwide have made commitments in recent years to reduce emissions with the goal of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5-2 °C. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is capable of significantly reducing anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and is an important tool in the effort to mitigate climate change. The ability of CCS to sequester emissions at a large scale makes it suitable to particularly emission-intensive sectors, such as the oil and gas sector in Canada. Many factors must be considered holistically to ensure the long-term success of large-scale CCS, such as the availability of emission sources, the design of a CO2 transportation network, the availability and capacity of suitable storage sites, the long-term fate of the injected CO2, the economic viability of the system, and the overall policy environment. Previous studies have considered these factors in demonstrating the viability of CCS in Alberta but have not done so holistically. We take a holistic approach in designing a large-scale integrated CCS system which includes CO2 capture from a hub of 10 large oil sands emitters, transport via a pipeline network, and permanent sequestration in the Nisku and Wabamun saline formations. We use a logistic model to forecast long-term oil sands hydrocarbon production and annual emissions, and ensure that all of the capturable emissions can be stored safely without exceeding pressure limits by modeling the long-term pressure evolution. The injected CO2 will be fully trapped in 6100-11000 years without migrating past the minimum storage depth. We calculate the capital expenditures for the pipeline and injection well components of the system and show that the amount of funding required is reasonable under the umbrella of federal infrastructure funding. This provides a comprehensive framework to ensure the long-term success of future CCS projects.


  • Zhao, Yu Hao
  • Shakourifar, Nima
  • Shahsavar, Negar
  • Lei, Yaxuan
  • Zhao, Benzhong

publication date

  • May 2024