More good news about innovation and progress in oil sands development came from Canada late last week.
In Calgary, the chief executive officers from 12 oil sands-producing companies – including ExxonMobil’s affiliate Imperial Oil – signed a charter to create Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). This organization is designed to pool companies’ expertise in oil sands technologies and processes and build upon the independent research and development already taking place.
The alliance will focus immediately on several key challenges: improving water resource management; continuing efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions; and reducing waste. The collaboration is intended to accelerate the development of breakthrough technologies that will improve environmental performance in these areas – ultimately reducing the amount of time between drawing board concepts and practical application.
I’ve talked before about how oil sands development has been one of the great engineering and technology challenges of our industry. More than 40 years of industry research and development has led to oil sands production that is not only economic, but also less intrusive on the environment. For example, our Kearl project in Alberta represents a next-generation approach to oil sands production. Kearl will deploy advanced technologies that will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the production process. In fact, such advances in technology will allow our Kearl project to produce oil from Canada’s oil sands with about the same GHG emissions as many other oils refined and used in the United States.
In Alberta, another new effort will also help advance environmental performance. There, a new environmental monitoring program established jointly by Canada’s federal government and the Alberta province will use sound science and collaboration to promote continuous improvement in environmental reporting and planning for oil sands production. We can accomplish more when government and industry work together on constructive programs like this.
Such initiatives taking place in Canada are important to the U.S. energy landscape. Canada’s oil sands are one of the largest energy resources in the world, located next door to American refiners and consumers. With ever-increasing demands on world oil supplies from economic growth around the world, Canada’s oil resources are an essential component of U.S. energy security – and will continue to be well into the future.
You can read more about Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance at the organization’s website.