Australian engineering company Worley has won an engineering services contract for Shell’s large-scale Polaris carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta, Canada.

Worley will provide preliminary front-end engineering and design services for the project, operated by Shell Canada Products (Shell Canada).

Polaris, when complete, will capture carbon dioxide from the refinery and chemicals plant at the Scotford complex near Edmonton.

The CCS facility is set to begin operations around 2025, subject to Shell taking the final investment decision, which is expected in 2023.

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“Delivering a more sustainable world for our customers is at the core of everything we do,” said Karen Sobel, Worley group president, Americas.

“Working with Shell Canada on its Polaris CCS project reinforces our commitment to helping our customers navigate the energy transition.”

She said the award underpins Worley’s position as industry leader in low-carbon fuels and decarbonisation.

The initial phase of the project would capture and store about 750,000 tonnes per annum of CO2 from the Scotford refinery and chemicals plant. It would reduce Shell’s direct and indirect emissions by up to 40% from the refinery and by up to 30% from the chemicals plant, while creating as many as 2000 jobs.

The second phase involves the creation of a CO2 storage hub in Alberta, further decarbonising Shell’s facilities and storing emissions on behalf of third-party industry sources.

The proposed Polaris project, the largest in a series of low-carbon opportunities Shell is exploring at Scotford, would have storage capacity of about 300 million tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project.

“Shell is making bold moves to decarbonise our operations, and wider industry, and the Polaris CCS project is the latest example,” Shell Canada president Susannah Pierce said recently.

Shell Canada president Susannah Pierce Photo: SHELL CANADA

“Our plans for Scotford are in line with Shell’s target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. We are creating a world-class site that will provide customers with lower-carbon fuels, products and CO2 storage.

“Polaris would also make a significant contribution to Shell’s aim to have access to an additional 25 million tonnes a year of CCS capacity by 2035.”

The Polaris project follows the success of the Quest CCS facility at Scotford, which has captured and stored more than 6 million tonnes of CO2 in its six years of operation.

Shell recently took the final investment decision on the Northern Lights CCS project in Norway and is part of the Porthos CCS project in the Netherlands.

“Our government is committed to developing carbon capture, utilisation and storage to help reduce emissions and capitalise on emerging economic opportunities,” Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage said in July.

“Projects like Shell’s Polaris CCS show that Alberta is open for business, and our oil and gas industry confidently looks to be a global player in a low-carbon future.”

Fully built, and contingent on acquiring pore space leases from the province of Alberta, Polaris could serve as a CO2 storage hub for more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 each year.

Once complete, it would contribute to the Edmonton region becoming Canada’s first hydrogen hub.

In the initial phase, CO2 captured from the refinery’s hydrogen plants would produce blue hydrogen for use in the refining process, with the potential for large-scale blue hydrogen production in future phases.

Shell said last month that it is exploring the development of additional volumes of blue and green hydrogen at Scotford that leverage Alberta’s abundance of natural gas and availability of renewable sources of power.