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Canadian Energy Centre

Report outlines how Canada can get credit for reducing emissions in Asia with LNG

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Cody Ciona and Deborah Jaremko

Sharing emissions reductions through Article 6 is possible when LNG replaces coal in power generation

With Asian countries continuing to rely on coal to fuel their growth, Canada can provide a cleaner alternative while having its efforts to reduce emissions recognized by the global community, says a new report. 

 Canada is getting closer to exporting some of the lowest-emitting liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the planet, with the first terminal nearing completion in British Columbia.  

 A Canadian think tank argues providing a significantly cleaner alternative to coal should merit credit for helping Asian countries reduce emissions under a global climate treaty. 

 “Sharing emissions reductions through Article 6 [of the Paris Agreement] is possible when LNG replaces coal in power generation,” writes Jerome Gessaroli, a senior fellow with the Macdonald Laurier Institute. 

“New LNG projects within British Columbia are amongst the least carbon-intensive sources of LNG in the world. BC’s LNG exports could lower global carbon emissions by displacing coal power, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.” 

Adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015, the Paris Agreement was ratified by Canada on October 5, 2016. This agreement set forth the worldwide effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.  

Article 6 outlines that countries may pursue “voluntary cooperation” with others to implement their nationally determined efforts to reduce emissions.  

Coal use and coal plant construction are increasing each year in Asia as countries look to grow their economies.  

The increase in coal-fired power has ostensibly created a significant challenge to meeting climate targets as emissions from announced and planned plants alone are expected to be over 1,415 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

“Just over half of LNG Canada’s Phase 1 production capacity in British Columbia would result in approximately 1.2 Mt CO2e emissions annually,” Gessaroli writes.  

“Using the same production capacity to replace coal for power generation in Asia has the potential to significantly reduce emissions, ranging from 14.9 to 35.2 Mt CO2e per year. Such outcomes underscore the importance of international collaborative efforts.” 

Studies have concluded that LNG from Canada can provide a net benefit in emissions reduction when switching from coal.  

Last year, global energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie found that Canadian LNG could reduce net emissions in northeast Asia by an average of 188 million tonnes per year between 2022 and 2050.  

That’s three times the emissions of the entire province of B.C., which were 62 Mt in 2021, according to the provincial inventory. 

“If Article 6 is used, the assertion that British Columbia’s pursuit of LNG production would prevent the province from meeting its emission reduction becomes inaccurate,” Gessaroli said, noting Canada should announce its intent to use Article 6 as a tool to help meet its emissions reduction targets. 

“These are complex issues, but we can learn from other countries that have already established processes for managing such projects.” 

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Canadian Energy Centre

Hubs are the future of carbon capture and storage: Why Alberta is an ideal place to make it happen

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Deborah Jaremko

Alberta Carbon Trunk Line a ‘perfect example’ of a successful carbon capture and storage hub in action

Call it a CCS highway – a shared transportation and storage network that enables multiple industrial users to reduce emissions faster. 

So-called “hubs” or networks are becoming the leading development strategy for carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the world moves faster to fight climate change, according to the Global CCS Institute.  

Alberta, with its large industrial operations and more CO2 storage capacity than Norway, Korea, India, and double the entire Middle East, is an early leader in CCS hub development.  

“For Alberta, the concept of CCS hubs makes a lot of sense because you have many industry players that are trying to reduce their emissions, paired with beautiful geological opportunities beneath,” says Beth (Hardy) Valiaho, vice-president with the International CCS Knowledge Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Jarad Daniels, CEO of the Melbourne, Australia-based Global CCS Institute, says that historically, CCS would be a single project integrating a CO2 capture plant with dedicated CO2 compression, pipeline and storage systems.  

“Networks, where each entity typically operates only part of the full CCS value chain provide several benefits,” he says. 

“They reduce costs and commercial risk by allowing each company to remain focused on their core business.” 

The institute, which released its annual global status of CCS report in November, is now tracking more than 100 CCS hubs in development around the world. 

Alberta already has one, and Valiaho says it is a “perfect example” of what she likens to on and off-ramps on a CO2 highway.   

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) went into service in 2020 as a shared pipeline taking CO2 captured at two facilities in the Edmonton region to permanent underground storage in a depleted oil field.  

Map of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line system. Courtesy Enhance Energy

So far ACTL has transported more than four million tonnes of CO2 to storage that would have otherwise been emitted to the atmosphere – the equivalent emissions of approximately 900,000 cars.  

ACTL was constructed with a “build it and they will come” mentality, Valiaho says. It has enough capacity to transport 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year but only uses 1.6 million tonnes of space per year today. 

The future-in-mind plan is working. A $1.6 billion net zero hydrogen complex being built by Air Products near Edmonton will have an on-ramp to ACTL when it is up and running later this year.  

Air Products will supply hydrogen to a new renewable diesel production plant being built by Imperial Oil. Three million tonnes of CO2 per year are to be captured at the complex and transported for storage by the ACTL Edmonton Connector.  

Hub projects like this are important globally, Daniels says, as CCS operations need to dramatically increase from 50 million tonnes of storage per year today to one billion tonnes by 2030 and 10 billion tonnes by 2050 

“It’s clear the development of CCS networks and hubs is critical for achieving the multiple gigatonne levels of deployment all the climate math says is required by mid-century,” he says. 

Valiaho says Alberta is an encouraging jurisdiction to develop CCS hubs in part because the government owns the geological pore space where the CO2 is stored, rather than developers having to navigate dealing with multiple resource owners.  

“Alberta is a model for the world, and the fact that the government has declared crown ownership of the pore space is very interesting to a lot of international jurisdictions,” she says.  

There are 26 CCS storage project proposals under evaluation in Alberta that could be used as shared storage hubs in the future, including the project proposed by the Pathways Alliance of oil sands producers.  

If just six of these projects proceed, the Global CCS Institute says they could store a combined 50 million tonnes of CO2 per year, or the equivalent emissions of more than 11 million cars. 

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Canadian Energy Centre

Energy Perspectives: Trading Up – Canadian oil and gas exports

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Ven Venkatachalam

The composition of Canadian trade has changed significantly in the last 20 years, with oil and gas now Canada’s most significant export

Global trade patterns have changed in recent years due to ongoing political and economic turmoil. In Canada, these changes are apparent at all levels – provincial, national, and international. The share of goods and services exported has been exceptionally high since 2002 and stood at 33.7 per cent of GDP in 2022. In Canada, 1 in 6 jobs are linked to exports.

Exports have always been essential to Canada’s economy. In 2022, Canada exported $779 billion worth of goods and services, double the value from 2002. One main reason for the country’s substantial export numbers relates to soaring oil and gas prices. Oil and gas accounted for more than 50 per cent of the growth in Canada’s goods exports in 2022. Those numbers are part of a trend: in the last 20 years, from 2002 to 2022, oil and gas exports increased significantly, rising from $36.5 billion in 2002 to $182 billion in 2022, most of it going to the United States (see Figure 1).

Canada’s Top Five Exported Products, 2002 vs. 2022

Since 2002, the composition of Canada’s trade has shifted. In 2002, the top exported product was motor vehicle parts. That year Canada exported $61.1 billion worth of automotive parts, accounting for 16 per cent of total exports. Also, that year Canada’s oil and gas exports stood at $36.5 billion, or 9 per cent of exports (see Figure 2).

Since then, the share of automotive exports as a proportion of all Canada’s exports has declined, while the share of oil and gas exports has increased, mainly due to greater demand from the United States. In the last 20 years, on average, Canada exported $82 billion of oil and gas each year.

In 2022, Canada’s annual oil and gas exports reached a record $182 billion, and the sector accounted for 23 per cent of Canada’s total exports. Accompanying the increase in exports from the sector were increased prices for oil and gas, partly as a result of rising demand in the United States.

The Canadian Energy Centre’s “Energy Perspectives” are short analyses released periodically to provide context on energy issues for investors, policymakers, and the public. The source of profiled data depends on the specific issue.

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