On Tuesday November 26, 2013, 21 months after its inception, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) held its first Performance Update.
It was an opportunity for COSIA and its 13 member companies to engage with a wide group of stakeholders and fulfil their ongoing commitment to communicate the progress made in improving environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands. It was also an opportunity to thank the people and organisations that have supported COSIA and shared in its vision of improved environmental performance through collaboration and innovation.
150 stakeholders ranging from industry, government, NGOs, media and Aboriginal groups attended the event at the TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary. They had the opportunity to learn about some of the projects currently underway and share in the spirit of collaboration that makes COSIA such a unique organization.
“When I think back to the launch I had one main thought on that day – and that was potential,” said Dr. Dan Wicklum, COSIA’s Chief Executive. “Today we are talking about what we have accomplished so far.”
Wicklum and CEOs from COSIA’s member companies went on to talk about how they had collectively created new legal agreements that allow member companies to collaborate at unprecedented levels, to developing planning frameworks for each of COSIA’s Environmental Priority Areas (EPA) that allow companies to identify new projects best able to deliver environmental performance improvement.
“To get 13 companies to agree to something and not even talk about what it’s going to cost us and launch it and move it along, that is the best indication of progress,” said Chris Seasons, president of Devon Canada Corp. “I have never seen it in my career. To me, that is the real litmus test. We continue to push pretty hard on it for outcomes and to better industry as a whole.”
To date, COSIA’s member companies have shared 560 technologies worth a total of $900 million. Its member companies are now actively working on 185 joint industry projects worth $500 million across COSIA’s four EPAs – land, water, tailings and greenhouses gasses.
After the presentations, guests had the opportunity to view booths with information on each of the EPAs and talk to COSIA’s EPA Directors about some of the key projects that are currently underway. Key projects include the reclamation of seismic lines in the boreal forest to restore caribou habit, the study of end pit lakes as a method to integrate tailings ponds into the final reclaimed landscape, numerous technologies to accelerate the drying of tailings, and using alga to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce bio fuel to power oil sands facilities.
Guests came away from the event confident that COSIA’s member companies had taken major steps to accelerate improvements in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands, but cognisant that there was still lots of work to be done.
“There is still much more road in front of us than behind,” said Wicklum. “But I believe that the quality of people we have involved will keep us driving progress; fulfilling COSIA’s potential and help unlock its vast potential in the oil sands for those in Canada and around the globe.”