Spectra Energy Corp. will study building a large-scale carbon sequestration facility at its natural gas plant in northeastern British Columbia (B.C.), the company and the B.C. provincial government revealed this week.

The province is advancing carbon capture and storage (CCS) research and development by contributing $3.4m to a feasibility project in northeast B.C. that will cost an estimated $12.1m, with the government agreeing to make its contribution to look at the geological and economic feasibility of storing captured carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide in a depleted natural gas reservoir 2km underground.

Spectra said the reservoir in Fort Nelson has the potential to store about one million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide produced by industrial emitters annually, which would be the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the highway.

“We applaud the Province for its leadership in this area. With their support, we will evaluate the geological, technical and economic feasibility of a large-scale CCS project associated with our Fort Nelson gas plant,” said Doug Bloom, President of Spectra Energy Transmission West.

The Western Canadian province is looking to carbon sequestration to help meet its goal of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming by 33% by 2020, and is one of a number of such projects around the world as attention begins to focus on this initiative.

The carbon dioxide would be injected into saltwater-filled geological formations or depleted natural gas pools. It can only be done in sedimentary basins where rocks have enough pore space to handle the volume of carbon dioxide to be injected.