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Shell says carbon storage without government help would be ‘quite a challenge’

The Quest carbon capture and storage project, built with financial help from Alberta and federal governments.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc. unveiled a $1.3-billion carbon capture storage project in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. on Friday, but said future such efforts to curb greenhouse gases will continue to need financial support from governments.

The governments of Alberta and Canada contributed $745 million and $120 million, respectively, to build the project that counts Shell Canada Energy (60 per cent), Chevron Canada Ltd. 20 per cent) and Marathon Oil Canada Corp. (20 per cent) as investors.

“It would be quite a challenge to build another CCS plant without that support of course,” Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada Ltd.’s president and country chair and executive vice-president heavy oil for upstream Americas, said on a conference call with journalists.

“Brand new technology like this requires a lot of collaboration between governments and industry and civil society. What we need to do now is learn from the project.”

Major oil companies have been axing projects around the world in an attempt to protect their balance sheet from persistently low crude oil prices.

Alberta’s New Democratic government said it no longer plans to fund future efforts using the CCS technology.

“We intend to evaluate all options for reducing greenhouse gases — like transit, energy efficiency … with an eye to the greatest return on investment,” Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd told Reuters in an email on Tuesday.

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