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Canada mulls CCS for oil sands emissions

Aug. 20, 2013 at 8:23 AM   |   Comments

EDMONTON, Alberta, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A provincial government in Canada said it wants the public's input on plans to cut the emissions from oil sands refining using carbon capture and storage.

The Alberta provincial government said it was committed to spending more than $1.3 billion during the next 15 years on two large-scale CCS projects designed to reduce carbon emissions from oil sands refineries.

Provincial Energy Minister Ken Hughes said it's vetted more than 70 recommendations aimed at improving provincial regulations on CCS and now it was up to the public to review the situation.

"Carbon capture and storage is a critical part of our government's commitment to responsible energy development and reducing our carbon footprint," he said in a statement Monday. "We must ensure CCS is conducted in the safest and most environmentally responsible way possible."

Canadian oil is viewed as more carbon-intensive to produce than conventional crude. The carbon footprint has been an obstacle to the federal government's efforts to get more of its oil to national and international refineries.

Canadian greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase at least through 2020, the Globe and Mail newspaper reports. It says reductions through CCS won't come until 2050. The newspaper said CCS was part of a provincial "sales pitch" to the U.S. government about the Keystone XL pipeline, planned to reach southern U.S. refineries.

The Alberta government said the public comment period extends to Oct. 3.

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