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Greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands are about 4-23% higher than the average crude refined in the United States. This is on a “wells-to-wheels” basis, meaning it accounts for emissions produced during crude oil extraction and processing (including fuel consumed in crude production and processing facilities) , distribution and combustion (when the fuel is used by the consumer).
From increasing energy efficiency in our operations to fuel technology advancements to educating customers on ways to consume fuel more efficiently, Shell is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) at all stages of the energy life cycle – from the mine to the motorist.
Shell continues to invest in technology development and knowledge sharing to identify promising opportunities. This includes leveraging the deep technical expertise within Shell globally, as well as collaborative industry initiatives like Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), to work on reducing GHGs in oil sands.
Life cycle CO2 emissions from different crudes
At our oil sands project in Canada we have taken measures to save energy, for example by installing a co-generation plant at the Muskeg River Mine. The plant recycles energy by capturing waste heat from electricity production and emits less than half the CO2 per unit of electricity than using the local power grid.
Carbon capture and storage
To reduce CO2 emissions from its Athabasca Oil Sands Project, Shell on behalf of the AOSP joint venture owners and with support from the governments of Canada and Alberta, is constructing Quest – the world’s first commercial-scale application of carbon capture and storage in an oil sands operation.
Quest is designed to use existing technologies, which have been used for decades in the oil and gas industry, to capture one million tonnes per year of CO2 and store it deep underground. This is the same as taking about 175,000 North American cars off the road each year. It, reflects up to a 35% reduction in direct CO2 emissions from the Scotford Upgrader annually.
More importantly, Quest will serve as a model for advancing and deploying more carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in both oil sands and other industrial settings. The experience and lessons learned from Quest will be crucial to reducing the time and cost of advancing new CCS projects worldwide.