ExxonMobil Corp.’s majority owned affiliate Imperial Oil Ltd. is considering construction of a grassroots renewable diesel production complex at its nameplate 200,000-b/d Strathcona refinery near Edmonton, Alta., in western Canada.
If approved, the proposed new complex would produce about 3 million l./day—roughly 20,000 b/d—of renewable diesel using proprietary process technology, ExxonMobil’s recently formed ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions business, Imperial, and ExxonMobil said in separate releases on Aug. 25.
The planned complex would process an unidentified mix of locally sourced and grown renewable feedstocks, according to Imperial.
Under development as part of Imperial’s commitment to supporting Canada’s transition to lower-emission fuels and the country’s ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the renewable fuels production complex, if realized, would combine a proprietary catalyst with renewable feedstocks and blue hydrogen—or hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology—to produce its premium low-carbon diesel fuel, the annual production volume of which would equate to removing more than 650,000 passenger vehicles/year from the road, Imperial said.
Alongside reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada’s transportation sector by 3 million tonnes/year (tpy), Imperial said it expects the project would also capture about 500,000 tpy of carbon dioxide annually.
Currently in partnership discussion with the government of Alberta, industry, and the government of British Columbia—the latter of which has agreed to support the project in the form of credits under its provincial low carbon fuel standard (BC LCFS)—Imperial said final investment decision on the potential complex will be based on several factors, including government support, regulatory approvals, market conditions, and economic competitiveness.
While Imperial provided no indication of when it might take FID on the proposed project, the company confirmed that, if approved, the Strathcona complex would begin production of renewable diesel in 2024.
In third-quarter 2020, Imperial commissioned a new cogeneration unit at the Strathcona refinery to increase the site’s overall energy efficiency and help contribute to further reductions in Alberta’s provincial GHG emissions (OGJ Online, Oct. 29, 2020).