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(May 02, 2008) Canada's western province of Saskatchewan is already the site of the world's largest demonstration or experimental project for injecting and storing carbon dioxide in underground oil fields. In the Weyburn and Apache fields, CO2 from industrial emissions has been injected into nearly depleted reserves to revive oil production and then sealed to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. The Saskatchewan experiment has been an international one, as a pipeline from Dakota Gasification Companies Synfuels Plant in North Dakota is a major contributor of CO2 for the project. (Petroleum Technology Research Centre, Weyburn-Midale CO2 Project, (last visited Apr. 16, 2008).)

On March 25, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan announced that they would partner with industry in the creation of the worlds' first and largest commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project. The Prime Minister has stated that the proposed Boundary Dam project would "reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by a million tonnes a year while generating up to 100 megawatts of clean power." (Office of the Prime Minister, PM and Saskatchewan Premier Announce Major Carbon Capture and Storage Project, Mar. 25, 2008, available at Funding for the federal government's contribution of Can$240 million (about US$238 million) has been included in the as yet unapproved 2008 Budget. (Budget Implementation Act, 2008, s. 138, 39th Parl. 2d Sess., available at
.) SaskPower, a provincial electric company, and other industries have agreed to contribute another Can$758 (about US$753) towards the cost of the project.

Since assuming power, Prime Minister Harper has indicated that Canada would not be able to achieve the reductions in greenhouse gases as had been agreed by the previous Liberal government when it ratified the Kyoto Protocol. (Canada Says It Will Not Meet Kyoto Targets, SIOUX CITY JOURNAL, Apr. 17, 2008, available at
.) The Prime Minister has, instead, indicated that Canada would aim for a reduction of 20 percent in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Carbon sequestration is a major part of the government's strategy. The Canada-Alberta Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force has estimated that Canada has the potential to store underground as much as 600 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. This would amount to approximately three-quarters of Canada's current emissions of greenhouse gases. (PM and Saskatchewan Premier Announce Major Carbon Capture and Storage Project supra.)

Author: Stephen Clarke More by this author
Topic: Environmental protection More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Canada More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 05/02/2008