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Investment targeted at new technology to cut pipeline emissions

Emissions Reduction Alberta commits nearly $2 million to Gazoduq Inc.

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The Government of Alberta has announced nearly $2 million in funding to help accelerate the adoption of new technologies—electrification, artificial intelligence, machine learning—that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the pipeline transportation of Alberta's natural gas.

Funds will be provided to Gazoduq Inc. through Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA). The $4 million project will evaluate the feasibility of using electrification, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to decarbonize natural gas pipelines from Alberta to Quebec. This investment supports the Government of Alberta's Natural Gas Vision and Strategy by helping to improve competitiveness and create economic opportunities for the natural gas sector.

"This project is another great example of the innovation in Alberta's natural gas sector. As North American leaders in game-changing environmentally-focused technologies including carbon capture and storage, Alberta companies already play a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies like the ones being introduced by Gazoduq are integral to ensuring Alberta's energy industry remains world-class in the years to come," said Dale Nally, Alberta associate minister of natural gas. 

Jason Nixon, Alberta minister of environment and parks, pointed out that expanding global markets and finding options for improving natural gas reserves are important keys to economic recovery.

"Alberta's government is pleased to be supporting Gazoduq's vision to keep industry competitive while creating opportunities for Alberta's natural gas sector through TIER. This project shows there is a strong market for Alberta's natural gas, and that Alberta is quickly becoming a global leader on artificial intelligence and machine learning," Nixon said.

"Since inception, Gazoduq has been developing an innovative underground natural gas transmission line project that will make use of cutting-edge technologies to deliver on its vision to reach net zero emissions. ERA's validation of our unique project is an important milestone. We are thrilled to have been selected for the Partnership Intake Program and convinced that this collaboration will not only be beneficial for our project but also for the Canadian natural gas industry," noted Mel Johnson, senior director project management with Gazoduq.

Gazoduq's project will assess the feasibility of using renewable energy to power large scale electric drives for three compressors used in the transmission of natural gas. At 40 megawatts each, the electrification of compressors at this scale would be first of its kind globally. At compression stations where renewable electricity is not feasible, cogeneration (using waste heat) will be explored.

A potential application of the technology is a proposed transportation pipeline from Alberta through TC Energy's existing Canadian Mainline before connecting to a new transmission line proposed from Northern Ontario to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Saguenay, Quebec. If proven successful, the new technology could cut up to 1.8 million tonnes of GHG emissions in Quebec by 2030.

If this approach is adopted in Alberta at six 30-megawatt compression stations, cumulative GHG reductions of approximately 440,000 tonnes of CO2e could be achieved by 2030. If rollout of the technology is expanded to 26 units as expected, a cumulative reduction of 6.7 million tonnes can be achieved by 2040.

The proposed transportation pipeline would allow for the export of approximately 1.6 billion standard cubic feet per day (scf/day) of Alberta natural gas. The project could also provide an opportunity to deliver natural gas to remote communities along the route, with the participation of local distributers, and allow Alberta to export its natural gas to European and Asian markets, expanding economic opportunities for the natural gas sector and replacing more polluting forms of energy such as coal.

The project is also expected to result in capacity building for Universal Pegasus International's Alberta office, leading to increased job creation in the Alberta construction sector if the approach is adopted in-province.

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