Carbon for sale as SaskPower’s deal with Cenovus changes

The Boundary Dam Three Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) facility near Estevan, Sask., is once again drawing criticism from the Opposition NDP. This time over potential off-takers of the captured CO2 with Cenovus being contracted to take 50-99 per cent of it.

“SaskPower rejected the terms that CNRL put on the table to begin with, so who knows if they’re going to be able to find a deal,” Finance critic Cathy Sproule said.

ChangSha Night Net

READ MORE: Slow SaskPower carbon capture performance costing millions

Cenovus is obligated to give SaskPower at least a week’s notice of how much carbon they plan on taking and the associated length of time.

Economy Minister Bill Boyd said he is confident that the Crown and province will find more carbon customers.

“I think that the oil companies look at this as an opportunity,” he said.

“They see CO2 as a very, very good use of it for enhanced oil recovery. So there is very, very active consideration by a number of companies.”

Boyd said they’re currently in negotiations with interested parties and a partner could be revealed soon.

SaskPower debt ceiling

The NDP also questioned government rationale for increasing SaskPower’s debt ceiling by $2 billion; going from $8 billion to $10 billion.

Boyd said they’re going to need to make a substantial infrastructure investment to meet SaskPower’s projection of 82,000 more customers in the next few years.

“There needs to be about a billion dollars of infrastructure spending going forward, year over year, for the next long period of time,” he explained.

However, the NDP believe the CCS facility is a big factor in this debt ceiling increase.

“I think what we’ll have to do is look at the annual report for SaskPower when it comes out,” Sproule said.

“Obviously they’re lumping all their infrastructure projects together, but $1.5 billion for carbon capture, we know that’s the cost of that project. That is part of the debt of this Crown corporation.”

That’s not the case, Boyd said.

“Boundary Dam has already been completed, so that wouldn’t have any impact on this whatsoever,” said Boyd.

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