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CMC researcher appointed to committee

Carbon Management Canada researcher and University of Calgary law professor Nigel Bankes has been appointed by the government of Alberta to a multi-disciplinary Steering Committee. The committee will lead the assessment of the regulatory framework that is intended to ensure carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are designed and operated in a safe and responsible way.

Bankes is a CMC-funded researcher who leads a Theme D project on developing a national and international legal and regulatory framework for carbon management.

The Steering Committee will define the scope of the assessment, guide the ongoing progress of working groups, and consult with an expert panel. The committee will also review the final report that will be submitted to the provincial minister of energy for approval. Chairing the committee is Alberta’s deputy minister of energy C. Peter Watson. Other committee members include representatives from the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Canada, industry, and NGOs.

Carbon capture and storage is one of Alberta’s key greenhouse gas mitigation strategies. In 2008, Alberta developed a climate change strategy that committed the province to reducing carbon emissions by 200 Mt by 2050. The province estimates that CCS will account for 70% of that amount.  In 2009, Alberta committed $2 billion to four projects:

  • The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, a joint project of Enhance Energy and North West Upgrading that will transport CO2 from northeast of Edmonton to mature oil fields in south-centre Alberta;
  • The Quest project, a joint venture between Shell, Chevron and Marathon Oil, which will capture and store 1.2 Mt annually beginning in 2015;
  • An in-situ coal gasification project operated by Swan Hills Synfuels; and
  • TransAlta’s Project Pioneer which, when fully operational, will capture 1 Mt of CO2 annually and use it for enhanced oil recovery.

Regulatory requirements applicable to CCS are spread out over many pieces of legislation and directives. The review will look at the existing regulatory regime in Alberta as well as CCS frameworks from other jurisdictions. It will focus on a number of areas including regulatory, environmental, geological and technical considerations as well as measuring, monitoring and verification requirements.