Climate & GHG emissions
Climate & GHG emissions progress
2021 KEY MILESTONES
Reduced total methane emissions by about 520,000 t from 2020 levels.
- Successfully piloted alternative Fugitive Emissions Management Program (alt‑FEMP) aerial screening.
- More than 3,000 high‑ to low‑bleed instrument conversions.
- Successfully piloted Facility of the Future zero vent well pad initiative.
- Successfully piloted select methane reduction technologies, including instrument gas to air conversions.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) and other decarbonization
- Captured 90,000 t CO2e at Lloydminster Ethanol Plant and Pikes Peak South thermal project.
- Completed feasibility study for carbon capture at Christina Lake.
- Evaluated feasibility of carbon capture at Minnedosa Ethanol Plant and Elmworth gas plant.
- Initiated a technology screening study to determine the optimal CO2 capture technology at the Lloydminster Upgrader.
- Initiated pre-FEED studies for commercial‑scale carbon capture applications at two Cenovus assets, working with Svante.
- Committed to a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy renewable electricity and associated emissions offsets.
WHAT’S NEXT 2
- Scaling methane reduction initiatives across additional conventional sites.
- Zero vent well pads, systems electrification, alt‑FEMP expansion.
CCS and other decarbonization
- Progress studies to optimize the cost and energy inputs of capturing CO2 from flue gas from natural gas combustion.
- Progress Minnedosa CCS project, including drilling wells to understand reservoir quality for sequestration.
- Advance CCS at the Lloydminster Upgrader, select sequestration well location and optimal CO2 capture technology application.
- Continue work with Svante for design and cost estimates on commercial‑scale carbon capture applications.
- Collaborate with industry peers in accelerating technology commercialization.
- Advance Pathways Alliance CO2 pipeline and sequestration hub project.
- Offset a portion of our scope 2 emissions through additional renewable PPAs.
- Evaluate direct air capture to offset portfolio emissions from hard‑to‑abate sources.
- Continue to monitor advancements in non‑combustion uses of bitumen (Bitumen Beyond Combustion).
1 Target includes start year: 2019 for emissions. Emissions reductions are in reference to scope 1 and 2, on a net equity basis.
2 Represents actions that Cenovus intends to take during the 12 months ending December 31, 2022, unless otherwise noted.
Decarbonization in our business plan
Applying and advancing technologies to reduce absolute emissions
Focused on conventional gas and heavy oil businesses
- Instrument gas to air conversions
- Facilities systems electrification
- Solar-powered chemical injection pumps
- Near-zero vent designs and vent reductions
- Alt-FEMP aerial screening
CCS & optimization
- Minnedosa Ethanol plant
- Elmworth gas plant
- Lloydminster Upgrader
Facility optimization at oil sands and conventional assets
- Optimizing steam use through well design & process controls
Pilots and feasibility studies that enable reductions in Phase 2
- Svante carbon capture technology
- Advanced amines for carbon capture, designed specifically for natural gas combustion flue gas
- Feasibility of small modular nuclear reactors for heat and power
Projects being progressed for 2035 target
Future potential developments
- Additional CCS at the Lloydminster Upgrader and other upstream post-combustion emissions sources
- Pathways Alliance initiatives to enable decarbonization including foundational carbon transportation line and joint storage hub
- Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) emission reductions from
- Small modular nuclear reactors
- Portfolio adjustments
Technology pathways to net zero
- Full implementation of most efficient large-scale emissions reduction solutions
- CCS on remaining accessible streams
- Low-carbon business opportunities
Net zero emissions by 2050
Our long-term ambition is to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This will require ongoing focus on technology and innovation beyond what is available today. But we are up for the challenge.
We continue to identify opportunities to participate in longer-term solutions to address emissions from our operations and beyond, including looking at implementing the most efficient large-scale emissions reduction solutions. Extensive collaboration with our peers, government, academics and other industries and entrepreneurs from around the world is key to achieving our own net zero emissions and helping Canada meet its climate goals. We are working with our peers in the Pathways Alliance. The goal of this first-of-its kind initiative is to achieve a phased reduction in emissions from oil sands operations, reaching net zero by 2050, working in collaboration with Canadian federal and provincial governments.
Carbon capture technology
We currently operate two carbon capture projects:
- Lloydminster Ethanol Plant – we produce fuel-grade ethanol, and capture, on average, approximately 80,000 tonnes of CO2e per year which is safely injected underground for enhanced oil recovery.
- Pikes Peak South – in partnership with Svante, we are testing new carbon capture technology, which is capturing upwards of 9,000 tonnes of CO2e per year while enabling the advancement of the technology. Read more about this project.
In addition to the projects already underway, our five-year plan includes progressing carbon capture technology at our Minnedosa Ethanol Plant, Elmworth gas plant and Lloydminster Upgrader.
At our oil sands operations, solvents, which are lighter hydrocarbons, have the potential to significantly reduce our emissions per barrel. For more than 15 years we’ve been testing techniques that use solvents in our steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations. Currently we are testing and piloting the use of solvent co-injection to lower our emissions. Learn more about our solvent co-injection pilot.
We measure, monitor and report on air quality and emissions of criteria air contaminants following Canadian and U.S. regulations. This allows us to evaluate and manage emissions at the corporate and individual facility level, forecast emissions associated with future operations and achieve regulatory compliance. To reduce air pollutants we invest in technologies that help capture contaminants and fugitives emissions, or lower energy consumption in our day-to-day operations and processes.
Climate & GHG at a glance
- Between 2004 and 2021, we reduced the emissions intensity at our oil sands operations by approximately 22%.
- In 2021, we reduced methane emissions by about 25% from 2020 levels.
- Our Foster Creek and Christina Lake oil sands facilities have cogeneration plants which use natural gas to generate electricity, which we use for our operations and then sell the excess to the Alberta electrical grid, reducing the province’s reliance on coal-fired power.