Edmonton Journal. Total will not use carbon capture technology in the first phase of its Joslyn North Mine oil sands project, citing excessive cost. In 2009, the company suggested it was considering carbon capture and storage in its oil sands projects in Canada.

In a letter dated June 3, 2010, a lawyer for the Canadian branch of the company told the panel set to review the project the company has submitted a greenhouse-gas management plan “which includes energy efficiency technologies and measures, as well as readiness for carbon capture.” The letter said the company is involved in pilot projects that will allow it to assess the feasibility of carbon capture technology for the project.

But in a meeting with The Journal’s editorial board Tuesday, Total E&P Canada president Jean-Michel Gires said it’s more likely the technology will be implemented around 2020. “”What we still need to improve is the cost aspect. Especially the capture side is still pretty expensive for the technologies which are currently being contemplated. And I guess that for the time being, the penalty is too big for what we would consider acceptable for such an issue.”

Gires estimated the net cost of capturing carbon dioxide today would exceed $100/tonne. The Alberta government now applies a $15-per-tonne charge for companies unable to meet greenhouse-gas reduction targets.

In July, Total E&P Canada Ltd. signed an agreement with UTS Energy Corporation (UTS) to acquire UTS Corporation with its main asset, a 20% interest in the Fort Hills oil sands mining project in Alberta, Canada. (Earlier post.)