Lower than expected natural gas prices have pushed back timelines for Swan Hills Synfuels production of synthetic gas and associated carbon capture plans. At present, its more economical to purchase natural gas than it is to manufacture synthetic gas, said Swan Hills Synfuels CEO Martin Lambert. Its a market reality that has led to significant delays on the CCS side of the project.
Deferred project timelines move the carbon capture components beyond the scope of the governments funding requirements. To date, no money has been advanced by the province for the project.
In 2011, the province committed $285 million over 15 years for Swan Hills Synfuels to capture the carbon dioxide CO2 from the gasification of underground coal and sell it for use in enhanced oil recovery.
Persistent low prices for Albertas natural gas have driven this business decision, said Energy Minister Ken Hughes. CCS remains a key part of Albertas commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the responsible development of our energy resources.
Government is moving forward with two oil sands related CCS projects, the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line and Shell Quest. Combined, they are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.76 million tonnes annually by 2016, the equivalent of taking 550,000 cars off the road. Albertas unprecedented commitment of $1.3 billion for these projects speaks to how serious we are about climate change and reducing our impact, added Hughes. No decisions have been made with respect to re-allocating the funding.