EnergyFactor By ExxonMobil | Pespectives has a new home

An emissions success story from Canada’s oil sands

Canada has one of the world’s largest resources of energy in the oil sands regions of Alberta. The oil sands are a critical resource helping support U.S. energy security and economic growth – and industry is making continuous improvements in the environmental profile of their development. A prime example is ExxonMobil’s Kearl Oil Sands Project.

Our senior vice president, Andrew Swiger, recently discussed some key innovations from Kearl at the Global Business Summit in Banff, Alberta, showing that it is possible to work in the oil sands while keeping greenhouse gas emissions down.

Andy noted that the technologies ExxonMobil is pioneering with our Imperial Oil affiliate “would enable us to produce the oil sands with about the same lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions levels as many other crude oils refined in the United States.”

How so?

By applying the proprietary processes being developed by some of our best scientists and engineers, we will generate pipeline-quality bitumen without requiring an on-site upgrader when the project begins a phased start-up later this year.

That means we will process the oil only in a refinery, rather than in an upgrader and then again at the refinery.

Processing the oil once instead of twice will significantly reduce our energy requirements, which in turn will reduce the emissions associated with the oil sands.

We will also deploy on-site cogeneration technologies at Kearl shortly after mine start-up.  By using cogeneration to provide both electrical power and steam efficiently, we will further reduce overall energy needs, including for grid-supplied power. This should reduce overall CO2 emissions by an estimated half-million tons annually.

If we’re going to meet the world’s growing demand for affordable and reliable supplies of energy, the industry will need to develop resources like the Canadian oil sands – and our Kearl project is leading the way in responsible development of this globally significant resource.

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