Hope for carbon sinks
Leaders at international oil companies, who have to worry about carbon balance sheets when they take projects to market, have divested from Alberta’s oil sands over the last decade. These energy giants face pressure to publicly report on the emissions that cause climate change, and the oil sands extraction in Alberta is some of the most carbon-intensive oil production in the world since the oil is boiled out of bitumen sand.
But there was a sign last week that investors may be changing their minds, based on the potential of carbon capture. Houston oil giant ConocoPhillips announced last Friday that it has invested CA$4.4 billion in the Surmont project, one of many massive oil extraction facilities in northern Alberta.Why? Because ConocoPhillips is enthusiastic about carbon sequestration, which may allow companies to increase oil production while cutting emissions by diverting carbon from oil-processing facilities and storing it. Environmentalists are skeptical of the technology, but some in the oil industry are starting to see it as a potential savior.