BHP Billiton, SaskPower partner on data sharing from Boundary Dam CCS project

International mining company BHP Billiton and Canadian utility SaskPower on Sept. 10 announced a partnership to accelerate the global development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by sharing access to the data, information and lessons learned from SaskPower’s Boundary Dam facility – the world’s first full chain power sector CCS project.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by these companies, and subject to contractual terms, BHP Billiton would contribute to the establishment of a global knowledge centre to help promote research and reduce the cost and risk associated with new CCS projects.

BHP Billiton Chief Commercial Officer Dean Dalla Valle said he was excited that the company is working with SaskPower to support efforts to reduce the world’s emissions. “To respond effectively to climate change, we must develop and deploy a wide range of low emissions technologies more quickly than the usual commercial timeframes. But progress remains too slow,” he said. “The individual components of CCS (capture, transport and storage) have been successfully demonstrated for many years but Boundary Dam is the first power project to bring all these together. Much more investment and many more projects are needed to bring down the cost of technology and accelerate its deployment. By making relevant information from Boundary Dam more widely available, we hope our contribution has a multiplier effect and promotes CCS investment around the world.

“We continue to assess other investments to support the development of CCS and other low emissions technology as part of our commitment to take action on climate change,” Dalla Valle added.

The Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, said: “We’re very happy to have BHP Billiton and SaskPower seek to partner on next steps, and make CCS more accessible to the world. With private enterprises like BHP Billiton investing in low emissions technology, we are turning the tide today in Saskatchewan, and tomorrow around the world.”

SaskPower President and CEO Mike Marsh said: “SaskPower’s CCS journey began more than a decade ago, and today we’re proud to develop this exciting opportunity with BHP Billiton. The intention of this partnership is to allow the CCS expertise and knowledge being developed in Saskatchewan to be shared worldwide, and what better way to do that than with a major global business leader.”

Giles Hellyer, President of BHP Billiton Canada, said he was proud that BHP Billiton was seeking to partner with a local Saskatchewan organization to achieve excellent work that is firmly aligned with BHP Billiton’s climate change position. “As the home of our Jansen Potash project, we have a strong connection with and commitment to Saskatchewan and it’s great to see some of the innovative work being done in the region recognised globally as part of such an important effort to reduce the world’s emissions,” Hellyer said. “This partnership demonstrates the strength of the work being undertaken by SaskPower at the Boundary Dam facility, the support offered by the Saskatchewan Government and BHP Billiton’s commitment to tackling climate change.”

The Boundary Dam CCS project was launched in October 2014, among other things extending the life of an aging coal unit by decades. This project allows SaskPower to produce 110 MW of power and capture 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. The SaskPower website noted that the CCS project has hosted groups from Hitachi in Japan, the United Kingdom government, European electrical giant Vattenfall, and many media outlets, including the New York Times. SaskPower said it has partnered with Vattenfall to share CCS breakthroughs from North America and Europe, which will allow us to move forward with our research even faster.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.