Enhance Energy Planning World-Scale CO-2 Pipeline In Alberta

May 2009 Vol. 236 No. 5

Lew Bullion, Senior Editor

The first world-scale project for transporting and burying greenhouse gases looks likely to be built in Alberta, Canada, according to Enhance Energy Inc., sponsor of the project.

The company is in the process of obtaining regulatory approvals and conducting detailed engineering leading to the construction of a 149-mile (240-km), 16-inch CO-2 pipeline in central Alberta, along with associated facilities. Construction is expected to start in 2010 with operational startup expected in 2011. Estimated cost – including the carbon dioxide capture/treatment facilities, the pipeline and a pump station – is estimated to be about $C300 million.

The Enhance CO-2 Pipeline System will have an ultimate design capacity of 800 MMscf/d (40,000 metric tons/d) with initial throughput planned at 100 MMscf/d (5,000 metric tons/d).

To date, Sunstone Projects Ltd. has assisted in the design and project management of the new system. Other technical and support contracts have been awarded to Synergas Technologies Inc., for facilities engineering; Scott Land and Lease, as land agents; and Worley Parsons, for environmental services.

Susan Cole, president of Enhance, said, “Besides the enormous environmental benefits to Alberta, the pipeline system will benefit Albertans through the jobs it will provide and the incremental royalties and taxes it will generate through enhanced oil recovery. Environmentally, the completed project will be the equivalent of taking 2,600,000 cars off the roads, so it is positive for Albertans on many levels. It is one of the largest projects in the world and it is not experimental; it is based on proven technology.”

The company expects regulatory approvals to be handed down this year in time for construction to commence during 2010. Cole said, “We have been able to make rapid progress because of the leadership shown by the Alberta government in establishing regulations on CO-2 emission in the province.”

The pipeline system will initially be supplied with CO-2 produced by two producers in north-central Alberta. The operations are North West Upgrading Inc. (heavy oil and bitumen) and Agrium Inc. (fertilizer). According to Enhance, after the gas is prepared in the north for pipeline transport, it will be transported to existing mature oil fields in south-central Alberta. The oilfields will use the gas to enhance production while the CO-2 will remain permanently stored in the oil-bearing reservoirs.

Cole said, “This project shows how an eco-industrial complex, where one industry relies on the waste products of another, can become a reality in Alberta. Because the CO-2 emissions of North West Upgrading and Agrium are permanently stored in the oil reservoirs of south-central Alberta, they will have the lowest CO-2 emission profiles for projects of their type in the world.”

The system will consist of:

  • Drying and compression facilities at the north end in the Heartland Industrial Region on the Agrium and North West Upgrader sites. The new facilities will process the CO-2 that will be collected from the producers and bring the CO-2 up to pipeline specifications.
  • A pump station east of Fort Saskatchewan in the Heartland Industrial Region, to be called the Elk Island Pump Station. The station will boost pressure on the pipeline system.
  • A pipeline operations and control center at the Elk Island Pump Station.
  • Receipt facilities at the south end of the system near Clive, Alberta. These facilities will allow distribution of the CO-2 to the conventional oil and gas fields in the area.
  • A 149-mile, 16-inch OD, high-vapor pressure pipeline between the sources and the delivery point.

While detailed engineering was still under way, Enhance said it expected the construction right- of-way width to be 59 feet (18 m) and the final right-of-way to be 16.4 feet (5 m) wide.

Barry Bauhuis, president of Sunstone Projects Ltd. said, “We are excited to be involved with this industry-leading project. This system will offer CO-2 producers in the Heartland Industrial area an economically viable way to deal with CO-2 emissions and can be in service relatively quickly. The system will be designed for capacity expansion and delivery flexibility. It is the first world-scale project for dealing with greenhouse gases and we are glad it is happening here in Alberta.”

About Enhance Energy

Enhance Energy Inc. is a Calgary-based energy resource company which specializes in using CO-2 to recover oil from existing reservoirs that are reaching the end of their lives under conventional production techniques. Enhance plans to be the first company in Alberta to implement a large-scale CO-2 enhanced oil recovery and sequestration project. Through its supply arrangements with Agrium Inc., Enhance says it has contracted the largest supply of suitable CO-2 in Alberta.

The project will help decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy usage, and increase resources recovery, according to the sponsoring company. One of Alberta’s main priorities is to ensure its energy resources are developed in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way. Enhance says the environmental and socio-economic benefits of the project will be substantial, as CO-2 capture and transmission through the proposed system will contribute to decreasing overall emissions, reducing energy usage, and increasing oil recovery.

Proposed Route

The north end drying and compression facilities of the line will be located at the supply sources, on industrial zoned lands in Sturgeon County, in an area south of the Town of Redwater and north of the City of Fort Saskatchewan. The supply source that will initially be connected to the Enhance CO-2 pipeline system will come from the Agrium Redwater Fertilizer Complex, and the Enhance facility site will be within the existing plant site. Plans are also in place to connect an additional source of CO-2 from the Northwest Upgrader Project, currently under construction, just west of the Agrium facility.

The proposed route travels north from the Agrium and North West Upgrader sites and then east along a new proposed railway route to a crossing of the North Saskatchewan River. From there, it turns south along a route to the pump station site in the Heartland Region east of Fort Saskatchewan. From the pump station, the route travels east and then, once past the east boundary of Elk Island Park, it turns south and continues past Tofield. At that point, the right-of- way turns west and continues until it connects with the current north-south pipeline corridor that travels from Red Deer to Edmonton. The CO-2 pipeline route then follows this current pipeline corridor south until it reaches the Enhance Pipeline receipt facility near Clive.

The route planned for the Enhance CO-2 pipeline.
The pipeline system will be monitored and controlled 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Elk Island Pump Station will be the operations center for the pipeline system, which will be located on 20 acres in the area east of Fort Saskatchewan. The pipeline will be equipped with emergency shutdown valves located at the supply points, the pump station and at regular intervals along the right-of-way.

The south end receiving site of the Enhance Pipeline will be located on an oil processing and gas compression facility located about five miles southeast of Clive. The CO-2 from the receiving facility will be distributed to new and current well sites in the Clive oil fields. New pipeline systems will be used to distribute the CO-2 to the wellhead locations. The distribution system at the south end of the Enhance Pipeline will be applied for under a separate application from other business partners.

The company says an alternate route option was considered that started in the Heartland Industrial Region and followed a pipeline corridor from Fort Saskatchewan to Edmonton, south between Sherwood Park and Edmonton and continued south along the current pipeline corridor from Edmonton to Clive. Though shorter, this route was eliminated due to the high congestion of pipelines in the area from Fort Saskatchewan to south of Edmonton and significant residential land development in the Edmonton region.

Enhance says it is proceeding with regulatory applications for the proposed project. This requires an Energy Development Application to the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), under Part 4 of the Pipeline Act, in compliance with ERCB Directive 56. The project also requires an Alberta Environment approval for Conservation and Reclamation planning for construction of the pipeline system.

Enhance said it is developing a health, safety, and environmental program modeled after industry best practices. The new pipeline system will be incorporated into this program to ensure that it is operated and maintained to the highest professional standards.

The company also said it will develop a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan (ERP), to ensure the timely and coordinated response to any emergencies within facility sites and along the entire proposed pipeline right-of-way. Once finalized, details of the ERP will be reviewed and discussed with all affected stakeholders along the entire route. The ERP that will be implemented will detail the necessary response and care measures to be undertaken should the need occur.

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