Potential of Agriculture and Forestry Residues on Reducing GHG Emission Intensity of Oil Sands-Derived Synthetic Crude Oil in Alberta

Murlidhar Gupta and Andrew McFarlan.
Natural Resources Canada.

The province of Alberta produces large amounts of agricultural and forestry residues, which are equivalent to 14% of its current synthetic crude oil processing capacity on an energy basis. This study identifies potential synergies in the co-development of agriculture and forestry residues with Canadian oil sands to advance the dual goals of resource sustainability and climate security. The district based scheme calculates the scale of each biomass densification facility and the split of haulages to be carried out before and after densification in order to estimate the amounts of diesel fuel consumed for trucking biomass in solid and liquid forms in each district. A sensitivity analysis has been conducted to determine the diesel consumptions and its impact on ability of available biomass resources on GHG emission intensity of oil sands. It is estimated that even in the most unfavourable scenarios, the co-processing of available biomass residues in Alberta can help reduce the effective GHG emission intensity of oil sands-derived SCO to 94.2 g CO2 eq.MJ-1, close to GHG intensity benchmark of internationally traded crude oils. The methodology presented in this work can be used to optimize hauling energy requirements by adapting to parameters most suitable at the each district level. Moreover, the proposed district based framework can be extended to other jurisdictions to help reduce GHG emission intensity of petroleum fuels.