Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an important technology that can be applied to reduce the carbon footprint of an industry or region.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas (GHG) that, when present in the atmosphere, contributes to climate change. In Canada, there is a concerted effort to minimize future emissions. Industry and consumers are being asked to restrict and reduce their CO2 emissions, both voluntarily and through regulation, including carbon pricing.

Project Clear Horizon

The City of Medicine Hat envisions Project Clear Horizon as a viable carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation solution for the region’s large industrial facilities, both existing and future, providing an avenue to meet Canada’s net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2050.

Project Clear Horizon is a carbon solution for industry to provide environmentally sustainable products needed by Canadians and global markets.

The project will determine the geologic potential and economic feasibility of developing a CCS hub in the Medicine Hat area. If Project Clear Horizon is feasible, work may progress to build facilities and infrastructure that will transport captured carbon to an injection site where it will be safely and permanently stored and monitored in a reservoir two kilometres underground.

For over 100 years, the City of Medicine Hat has developed a comprehensive knowledge of local geology through owning and operating an oil and gas company, positioning the City to facilitate the development of a CCS hub.

Positioned for success

Medicine Hat is believed to be a promising location for a CCS hub for several reasons.


Deep subsurface reservoirs in the Medicine Hat area offer potential options for carbon injection and storage. The region is seismically inactive and there are thick, continuous caprock deposits with few well penetrations. This is considered ideal geology to safely inject and permanently sequester carbon dioxide (CO2).


The underground reservoir currently under evaluation is close to source emissions (such as the City’s electricity generation facilities). Proximity to emissions means that shorter pipelines are required to transport the CO2 for sequestration. This could result in lower capital and operating costs.


Medicine Hat is home to carbon-intensive industry with interest in decarbonization. Project Clear Horizon has the potential to mitigate up to three million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Project milestones 
The Government of Alberta oversees the development of carbon sequestration hubs. Learn about the allocation process on their website
Pore space evaluation rights 

On October 4, 2022 the Government of Alberta announced the City of Medicine Hat was one of 19 successful applicants to be awarded the right to evaluate the geology for carbon sequestration within a permitted area. The Evaluation Agreement grants the City exclusive tenure to evaluate the potential of reservoir rock deep in the subsurface (pore space) for injection and permanent storage of CO2.

Use the Government of Alberta’s online Carbon Sequestration mapping tool to view the evaluation area. 

Early-stage pre-commercial evaluation 
The City is working to evaluate Project Clear Horizon’s suitability for injecting and storing carbon dioxide (CO2). We will be acquiring and analyzing seismic data, drilling and testing wells to evaluate the potential of the pore space, modelling, planning and completing initial reports including feasibility, pre-FEED, Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) studies, and initial work on an operations plan. 
Final investment decision 
If the evaluation work indicates that Project Clear Horizon is possible, economic and viable, the City will work through a final investment decision (FID) to decide whether or not to advance Project Clear Horizon to the next stage. 
Carbon sequestration agreement 
The City or a hub operator would then apply to the Province for a Carbon Sequestration Agreement which, if awarded, will grant the pore space rights to inject CO2 into specified geologic zones. The open access hub is intended to allow all emitters in the region access to a carbon mitigation solution. Only projects that meet Alberta’s rigorous safety and environmental standards will ultimately be approved and awarded by Alberta Energy. 

Frequently asked questions

Glossary of terms

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – A colourless, odorless gas that’s produced when animals (including humans) breathe or when carbon-containing materials (including biomass and fossil fuels) are burned. Carbon dioxide is essential to the photosynthesis process that sustains plant and animal life. But, it can accumulate in the air and trap heat near the Earth’s surface (the ‘greenhouse effect’).

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) – Greenhouse gases are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride.

Pore Space – A cavity or void, formerly occupied by minerals or water, in rocks below the surface of the land.

Sequestration – Storing something so that it’s no longer available. Carbon sequestration involves the removal or storage of carbon dioxide so that it can’t be released into the atmosphere.

What is Carbon Capture and Storage?

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large emissions sources, such as power generation and industrial facilities, and storing it in deep underground geologic formations so that it is not emitted into the atmosphere. CCS is an important emissions reduction technology that can be applied to reduce the carbon footprint of an industry or region.

CCS is a powerful tool for addressing climate change and is expected by many experts to contribute materially to global decarbonization.

How does CCS work?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is first captured at the source of emission. It is then purified, compressed, and injected into underground geological formations.

In the capture stage, equipment attached to industrial facilities diverts gas containing CO2 (before it reaches the atmosphere) into vessels. Then a chemical separates and captures the CO2.

The captured CO2 is then compressed and transported via pipeline to a storage hub.

Finally, the liquid CO2 is injected into the geologic rock deep underground (a storage well) where it stays permanently trapped underneath cap rock.

Is CCS safe?

Yes, CCS is a safe, proven process that has been operating all over the world for decades. Alberta is a leader in developing this technology and has some of the most stringent guidelines in the world to protect public safety, the environment and landowners.

Alberta has one of the best and most abundant geological formations to safely store emissions. The captured CO2 is permanently stored more than one kilometre underground, well below any freshwater sources, in the same type of rock formations that have stored oil and gas for millions of years. Overlying layers of impermeable caprock act as natural seals.

Careful site selection and rigorous monitoring ensure the injected CO2 remains sequestered and doesn’t have an impact on freshwater, plants, soil, or geological stability.

Why are we doing this?

Our goal is to achieve net zero by 2050.

The City of Medicine Hat generates CO2 in our power generation business. We have both a desire and a responsibility to meet environmental obligations to address climate change and transition to a greener economy.

The Government of Canada has pledged a 40-45% emissions reduction target from 2005 levels by 2030 and has set a legally binding net-zero GHG emission target by 2050. Electricity generation will face this challenge even sooner with net-zero targets initially set for 2035. 

The City recognizes the potential role that CCS can play in achieving climate objectives and is committed to being an engaged partner in the transition to a sustainable and prosperous future for our community.

Does the carbon price play a role in this initiative?

Yes. In addition to the net-zero emissions targets on electricity generation by 2035, federal carbon pricing is expected to rise from $65 per tonne in 2023 to $170 per tonne in 2030.

The rising cost of carbon emissions will increase the cost of electricity generated from burning natural gas or other fossil fuels. CCS infrastructure will allow the City, which is subject to these regulations, to capture the CO2 and avoid the carbon price cost.

If Project Clear Horizon moves forward, where will the carbon hub be located?

The City was granted tenure from the Government of Alberta to evaluate subsurface pore space for a potential sequestration location northwest of Medicine Hat. Use the Government of Alberta’s online Carbon Sequestration mapping tool to view the evaluation area.

How much carbon can we sequester?
Project Clear Horizon has the potential to permanently sequester millions of tonnes per year of CO2 from the local region and is envisioned to be scalable to accommodate emissions from new or expanded industrial activity in Southeast Alberta.
How long will Project Clear Horizon take?
Subsurface work could take two years, during which design, construction and operations plan would be developed. If feasible, a CCS solution could be operational in the latter part of this decade.
How much will this project cost?

In July 2022, City Council approved $11 million in working capital and third-party funding for early-stage evaluation and development of Project Clear Horizon.

Are CCS and hydrogen the same?

No. CCS and hydrogen are often grouped together in conversations about the broader reduced-carbon future, but they are significantly different initiatives.

CCS deals with the carbon we already produce to allow carbon-intensive industry to reduce emissions and remain viable.

Producing hydrogen limits our reliance on non-renewables and offsets the use of carbon-intensive fuels as an input in industrial processes, electricity generation, and even heating your home or fueling your vehicle. Hydrogen production from fossil fuel sources can benefit from CCS where carbon capture could be used in the process to reduce CO2 emissions of generating hydrogen.

The City is looking at all potential options to transition energy delivery. To learn more about initiatives that are currently underway, visit 


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