Alberta funds nuclear reactor research for oil patch
Posted Sep 19, 2023 06:37:58 PM.
Last Updated Sep 19, 2023 07:47:39 PM.
The Alberta government is investing $7 million into a Cenovus study that will investigate how nuclear energy could supply power to the oil and gas sector.
On day three of the World Petroleum Congress, Alberta Environment Minster Rebecca Schulz made the announcement in partnership with Cenovus Energy.
They say the funding will be used to investigate how nuclear energy could potentially supply heat and power to the oil and gas sector.
“If Cenovus finds that this technology could applied in the future, it would be transformational for the province’s in situ oil sands sector,” Shulz said.
The clean energy investment comes via Emissions Reduction Alberta, as the province strives towards carbon neutrality.
“Simply put: SMRs could supply non-emitting heat and power to the oil sands,” said Justin Reimer, CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta.
Watch: World Petroleum Congress: Alberta Premier talks future of oil and gas
The study will analyze whether modular reactors could be utilized in steam-assisted projects to soften oil for easier removal.
“You would be eliminating the emissions because you’re eliminating the burning of natural gas to power to create the steam,” said Rhona DelFrari, the chief sustainability officer and executive vice-president of Cenovus Energy.
The multi-year research project will also explore requirements for regulatory approval in the future.
While acknowledging federal goals to meet net zero emission targets by 2050, Schulz put emphasis on building a reduction strategy around the oil patch.
“This is not about reducing our footprint or phasing out our oil and gas industry. Not at all. We know our industry is going to be necessary for generations to come… But we are also doing our part to make sure that we are putting environmental stewardship at the forefront,” she said
The Cenovus Energy study will cost a total of $26.7 million, with the energy giant covering $19.7 million of the cost.