Innovation and Technology

The oil and natural gas industry is actively working to reduce GHG emissions through project design, operational excellence, innovation and technology.

Our aspiration is to produce oil with lower greenhouse gas emissions than other sources of oil.

Canada’s oil and natural gas industry is committed to leadership in environmental performance. Responsible energy development, driven by technology and innovation, plays a crucial role not only for our industry, but for the Canadian economy.

Supporting and enabling the development and adoption of cost-effective technologies to reduce environmental impacts is the optimal path to continue to promote investment, jobs, and oil and natural gas sector growth in an environmentally responsible manner.

Energy development was founded in technology and innovation, and it continues to drive improved environmental performance and prosperity for Canadians

And the work is ongoing. Industry is developing technologies, innovations and best practices through organizations such as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) and the Clean Resource Innovation Alliance (CRIN).

COSIA innovation

COSIA is seeking new ways to reduce GHGs, minimize land impacts, reduce water use and improve the management of tailings. Technology and innovation has been and will continue to be the strength and key opportunity for Canada to meet its commitment to addressing climate change.

Members in Action

  • Vacuum Insulated Tubing: Insulated tubing in wells reduces heat loss in steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations, requiring less steam, and therefore making wells more efficient.
  • Gas-Turbine Once Through Steam Generator: A fit-for-purpose co-generation technology that produces electricity at the same time as producing steam that has the potential to reduce operators' reliance on electricity from the Alberta power grid, which may result in a net reduction in carbon intensity per-barrel of product.
  • Algae project: Oil sands companies are investigating using algae (microscopic plants) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while producing valuable products. Essentially, the project involves creating biorefineries. Large cultivation tanks are built and seeded with algae, then filled with a mixture of carbon dioxide (CO2), waste heat, and treated waste water from oil sands facilities 
  • Quest for Less CO2: Shell’s Quest Project, the first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project for an oil sands operation, began capturing CO2 in November 2015. In its first two years of operations, Quest has captured and safely stored two million tonnes of CO2, and has achieved this milestone ahead of schedule.

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